If you were hurt in a truck crash caused by a fatigued or sick commercial driver during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be an inadvertent victim of a plan to increase the availability of vital medical equipment, providers, and other necessary items.
Since February 2020, medical facilities throughout the country have struggled to maintain adequate personnel, equipment, and protective supplies.
Grocery stores, too, have worked diligently trying to keep shelves stocked.
On March 13, 2020, in response to the nationwide shortage of supplies and personnel, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)—the agency in charge of regulating interstate trucking industry in the United States—announced the suspension of its Hours-of-Service safety regulations for commercial drivers carrying specified goods or medical personnel.
Prior to the suspension, the rules limited cargo-carrying truckers to 14-hour shifts with no more than 11 consecutive driving hours, following a 10-hour rest period. Commercial drivers tasked with transporting passengers were permitted to drive for 10 consecutive hours if followed by eight hours of rest. These restrictions were temporarily lifted for some drivers. While this may help important supplies get where they're needed faster, it also increases the risk of serious truck accidents.
The FMCSA developed and implemented the driving time limitations in an attempt to prevent the exhaustingly long shifts that can lead to drowsiness and in turn, cause horrific truck crashes. Now, with drivers working longer hours and feeling more pressure than ever to make good time on their routes, some truckers abandon safety practices designed to protect everyone on the road.
Additionally, due to their extensive travel, commercial truck drivers may also be exposed to the coronavirus. Should they become ill, they could get extremely sick, extremely fast, further increasing the risk of an accident. Some COVID-19 patients experience waking hallucinations, which contributes an extra layer of potential danger.
We Can Help You Fight for Fair Damages
A commercial bus or truck driver's status as an essential worker doesn't prevent them from being held responsible for injuries and other damages caused by their negligence. If you were hurt in a truck crash caused by a drowsy, distracted, or ill driver, the adept truck accident attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak will review your case, and help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.