Due to the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s economy, suspended federal trucking safety regulations may pose safety threats to drivers.
Suspended Trucking Regulations May Pose Accident Risks
During normal times, the trucking industry must follow strict safety regulations mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the federal agency that oversees the U.S. trucking industry. With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FMCSA suspended trucking safety requirements to speed up relief to the U.S. economy.
Normal FMCSA safety regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver may drive. This is done to prevent driver fatigue and drowsy driving accidents, a major problem for commercial truckers. FMCSA crash studies show that close to 15 percent of commercial truckers involved in a crash is driving while extremely fatigued or drowsy.
Under normal regulations, a commercial truck driver is limited to a maximum of 11 driving hours within a 14-hour work period. In addition, drivers must take breaks and rest stops. Suspended safety regulations allow drivers to stay on the road longer without breaks and rest stops to meet delivery demands to businesses and consumers. Safety advocates and trucking officials are concerned that unlimited driving hours may pose a threat of more trucking accidents with other drivers.
FMCSA trucking safety regulations were suspended to protect public health and safety by providing faster transport and delivery of essential goods. Suspended regulations do not apply to commercial trucks or other types of commercial vehicles used for other purposes. Suspended regulations apply to the transport of the following:
- Medical equipment and supplies to hospitals and medical facilities
- Sanitary equipment and supplies essential for public health and safety
- Groceries and essential household goods for consumers
- Temporary shelter building equipment and supplies
- Transportation of essential medical professionals and technicians
- Transportation of emergency first responders
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in the amount of cars on the road, it has increased the amount of large commercial trucks on the road. States across the country, including Nevada, are flooded with commercial trucks making daily deliveries to hospitals, grocery stores, and other essential businesses. Reno neighborhoods are flooded with daily direct deliveries by Amazon, UPS, and FedEx to consumers.
Reno truck accident lawyers have seen a rise in trucking accidents and injuries around the city. With Nevada’s extensive freeway system, there are thousands of semi-trucks and 18-wheelers on the road most hours of the day and night.