Some Truck Drivers Are Now Exempt From Hourly Caps
Truck drivers have been required to follow laws regarding the safe operation of trucks. However, for those truck drivers who are delivering essential medical supplies, such as medical equipment, these restrictions have been lifted for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that drivers won't become a hazard on the road due to exhaustion and cause serious accidents.
Changes in Requirements
Normally, when you are the victim of a truck accident, your attorney will need to look at the driving log of the truck driver to determine if he or she has been driving for too many hours. This is essential because 1 in 25 drivers have reported falling asleep behind the wheel.
Drivers are typically required to take breaks from driving and can only drive for a certain number of hours at a time. They must use an electronic or paper logbook to record their activities. However, these are not required in situations involving emergency relief.
The electronic logging device can be turned onto the "authorized personal use" setting or can be turned off entirely. It can also be left on and the driver can annotate the record to account for emergency hours.
Truck Driver Duty of Care
While drivers are allowed to drive longer hours, they are still not allowed to drive in an unsafe manner. If you are involved in an accident with a truck that is driving unsafely due to driver fatigue, you will still be able to seek compensation for damages due to negligence. Your car could easily be totaled and you may suffer serious injuries as a result of a collision with a commercial truck.
Effects of Fatigue
In addition to falling asleep behind the wheel, drivers who are exhausted have less of an ability to estimate distances. Drivers have much slower reaction times and are less likely to react to stopped traffic. For example, if another driver brakes during an emergency, the truck driver is more likely to rear-end the vehicle and cause serious injury or death. Truck drivers are less likely to check blind spots and may swerve and hit other vehicles.
If the driver is not transporting emergency medical supplies, violating the hourly cap for commercial truck drivers can lead to the driver and possibly his or her company being held liable. Regardless, you will want to speak with a truck accident lawyer to determine how much your settlement should be worth and to gather evidence. Contact a law firm like Palmetto Injury Lawyers to learn more.