Relaxed Trucking Rules, COVID Demand, Increase Truck Accident Risks

COVID restrictions and new Hours-of-Service regulations are placing increasing demands on the nation’s transportation industry even as safety advocates continue to push measures to reduce the risk of commercial trucking accidents.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated Hours-of-Service regulations in response to industry demand for more flexibility amid the spiking demand for products as the nation deals with the COVID pandemic. truck accident lawyer

“America’s truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

While Chao contends the changes make motorists safer, the measure actually concedes several points the industry had argued against since tougher regulations went into effect in 2018, including permitting a mandatory 30 minutes break to be used for non-driving work-related tasks. The update also:

Rest time: Allows drivers to split the required 10-hour daily rest time into 7/3 or 8/2.

Adverse conditions: Extends by two hours the time limits in adverse driving conditions.

Short haul: Increases the mileage and reduces time limits on drivers traveling less than 150 miles.

The rules still require drivers to take a 30 minutes break after 8 hours of continuous driving and allow for no more than 14 hours of driving in any 24-hour period.

Truck Accident Injury Litigation

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers continue to push for better protections for motorists when it comes to regulating unsafe truckers and trucking companies. Unfortunately, the United States lags behind most of the rest of the work when it comes to passing and enforcing common-sense trucking regulations. Automated data recorders, automatic log books, speed limiters, and better rear-underside guards have been standard in many developed nations for decades even as the United States has moved to provide the trucking industry with fewer restrictions and less accountability.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports the number of serious and fatal trucking accidents has increased steadily since the economic downturn of 2009. These collisions now claim about 5,000 lives a year. The vast majority of victims are occupants of a vehicle involved in a collision with a tractor trailer.

The number of injury crashes involving large trucks or buses decreased steadily from 102,000 in 2002 to 60,000 in 2009 (a decline of 41 percent). From 2009 to 2015, injury crashes increased 62 percent to 97,000.

Top causes of trucking accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, include:

  • Brake problems
  • Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash)
  • Prescription drug use
  • Traveling too fast for conditions
  • Unfamiliarity with roadway
  • Roadway problems
  • Required to stop before crash (traffic control device, crosswalk)
  • Over-the-counter drug use
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Fatigue

An experienced injury lawyer in Fort Myers or Cape Coral should always be consulted in the immediate aftermath of a serious or fatal collision with a commercial vehicle. Not only must your chosen law firm have extensive experience with federal and state regulations involving intra- and interstate trucking, but your firm must also have the resources to pursue large trucking operators and their insurance companies.

If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.


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