Panic and increased sanitation efforts surrounding the 2019 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have upped the demand for items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants. At the same time, many hospitals and healthcare providers are busier than ever before and in dire need of gloves, masks, and other medical supplies.
To help meet these needs, truck drivers and shipping companies are waiting in long lines for toilet paper and other supplies and driving as much as possible. To expand the trucking industry’s ability to drive and move goods, the Trump administration has suspended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours-of-service regulations for the first time in our nation’s history.
Without FMCSA regulations, truck drivers can work overtime. Specifically, they can drive for more than 14 hours a day without taking 10-hour rest periods in between. While this helps truckers meet the ever-growing demand for medical and sanitary supplies, it also creates another dangerous problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), commercial drivers are more likely to drive drowsy. Every year, sleep deprivation causes countless drivers to fall asleep at the wheel and cause serious accidents. Even if a driver is able to stay awake, drowsiness makes them:
- Less able to pay attention to the road
- Slower in braking and steering
- Less capable of good decision making
When truck drivers are carrying full loads of up to 80,000 pounds are affected by drowsiness, the results can be deadly. In 2018, a total of 4,136 people died in large truck crashes – and this was before FMCSA regulations were suspended.
If drivers are pushed to their biological limits on our nation’s roadways, innocent bystanders will pay the price. While getting supplies to stores and medical professionals important, so is the health and safety of everyone on the road.
Without hours-of-service regulations, truck drivers and shipping companies still have a duty of care toward other drivers on the road. If you’ve been injured in or bereaved by a truck accident, you are still entitled to legal help.
At Reed & Garcia Law, PC, we are prepared to help you navigate these strange times, especially if it means holding truck drivers, shipping companies, and their insurers accountable for wrongdoings.
For compassionate legal care, please call us at (310) 242-8933 or schedule a free consultation online.
Please stay safe and healthy and we hope we can help you soon.