The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for making the rules that apply to trucking companies and their truck drivers, and it does this in various ways. Its “primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.” This means that the FMCSA is supposed to make rules for trucking companies and truck drivers that protect the public from accidents that cause injury or death.
Revising and Loosening the Hours-of-Service Regulations
COVID-19 has had different impacts on different trucking companies and drivers; whether demand has increased or decreased depends upon the types of goods that are being transported. The trucking that is in high demand – the transportation of food and medical equipment, for starters – has definitely become essential during COVID-19. Because of this, the FMCSA recently considered whether to revise and loosen the current regulations for trucking companies and drivers, including the hours-of-service regulations.
Despite testimony by advocates from groups like the Truck Safety Coalition – a group that lobbies for laws that will prevent trucking accidents and prevent injuries and deaths, the FMCSA did revise and loosen the regulations. There were four main revisions, and they took place on June 1, 2020. The revisions come into effect on September 29, 2020.
There were four main revisions to the hours-of-service regulations.
- The first is the “short-haul exception.” Some of the rules were inapplicable to driving goods for short distances. The first revision expands that exception by increasing the distance that counts as short and increasing the total length of permissible driving time.
- The second is the “adverse driving conditions exception.” There are special rules for driving in adverse conditions, and this revision allows drivers to drive in those conditions for an extra two hours.
- The third is the “30-minute break requirement.” This revision requires that drivers take a 30-minute break after they have been driving for eight hours (instead of when they have been on-duty in general for eight hours). It also permits drivers to take the 30-minute break while they are on-duty, though, as long as they are not driving.
- The fourth decreases the amount of time required for truck drivers to spend in the sleeping compartments of their trucks to meet the off-duty time requirements.
What to Do if You are Harmed in a Trucking Accident
If the roads are unsafe and you do end up getting hurt in a trucking accident, you should call an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in injuries from trucking accidents, so that you can seek the compensation you deserve. Linebaugh, Dority & Allen has a team of attorneys who specialize in this type of accident, and you can contact us for help with your case.