There is a reason why the federal hours-of-service (HOS) law was put in place in 1938 — to help prevent truck drivers from dozing off behind the wheel and causing catastrophes on our roadways. For the first time since first being enacted, the HOS law has been temporarily suspended for some truck drivers in response to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Who does the suspension of HOS apply to?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the temporary suspension of the HOS law — which was issued on March 13, 2020 — only applies to truck drivers who are transporting essential items and emergency services. This includes drivers who transport:
- Medical supplies, such as testing kits and ventilators
- Sanitation supplies, such as face masks, hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectants, and gloves
- Grocery store food and essential items
- Temporary housing and supplies for COVID-19 quarantines
- Medical professionals designated by federal, state, and local government to provide assistance to COVID-19 patients
What safety impact will the HOS suspension have on our roads?
Under the HOS law, truck drivers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours during a 14-hour work shift. They must also take 10 consecutive hours of off time in between shifts to ensure that truck drivers get enough sleep before getting back on the road.
The law will still apply to some truck drivers. Those exempt from it will be allowed to spend more than 11 hours on the road per shift. This could potentially lead to an increase in truck crashes caused by drowsy driving.
Contact a lawyer if you were hurt in a drowsy driving truck crash
At this time, it's critical that essential goods and services are made available for public safety. Since about 70 percent of essential items are transported by large commercial trucks, we applaud the service of truck drivers. They are still expected to get adequate sleep and stay attentive while driving, however.
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck crash with a drowsy driver, don't hesitate to get legal help. The Indiana truck accident attorneys at Boughter Sinak, LLC know how to handle complex claims such as yours. We know how to take on large trucking companies and their insurers, and get results.
Our lawyers can place an accurate vale on your claim and fight for a fair settlement. We offer free, confidential case evaluations to clients in Fort Wayne and South Bend. We're also taking strict measures to keep our law office sanitized and disinfected in order to ensure our safety and yours.
Contact us online to get started. You can also call our Fort Wayne office at (260) 420-4878 or our South Bend office at (574) 236-4878.