The COVID-19 crisis has placed a priority on the shipping of goods for health care professionals and for the general public. Thanks to online orders, Amazon and many other companies, are in constant need of having truck drivers deliver their products.
On March 13th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an emergency order changing the rules for how long truck drivers can drive without a rest. The hours of service requirements were and still are designed to help ensure that drivers are not fatigued when they drive their trucks.
The new declaration provides that the hours of service rules are temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic if the products being shipped are for one of the listed purposes. Commercial deliveries that do not meet any of these conditions are still subject to the hours of services regulations of the FMCSA.
Authorized FMCSA hours of service exceptions
Permitted COVID-19 deliveries include deliveries of:
- Medical supplies and equipment – for the diagnosis, testing and treatment of the disease.
- Products for the safety of the community, sanitation, and products whose purpose is to help prevent the transmission of the disease. These products include soap, gloves, masks, hand sanitizers, and disinfectants.
- Food for emergency store restocking.
- Items needed to establish and maintain quarantines, temporary housing, and isolation facilities.
- People the local, state, or federal authorities designate for “medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.”
- People needed to provide emergency or medical aid.
The relaxing of the hours of service rules does not apply to mixed loads: the delivery of products listed in the declaration combined with products that are not listed.
What the new order requires for drivers
Drivers who inform their supervisors that they need rest must be allowed to take 10 hours rest before being allowed to continue driving. Additionally, when drivers who indicate they are tired complete their journey and return to their terminal – they must take at least 10 hours off for rest or 8 hours off if they were transporting passengers.
The new declaration does not relieve drivers of their duties to:
- Drive safely
- Drive free from distraction
- Drive while not under the influence of alcohol
Drivers must still have a valid commercial driver’s license. The loads must comply with hazardous materials rules and other relevant safety laws.
Our Manchester truck accident lawyers understand the dangerous climate that exists due to the COVID-19 disease. We appreciate how important it is to protect the lives of the public from acquiring or transmitting the coronavirus. We also understand that the rush to get emergency products to those in need should not affect the safety of other drivers, nor of the truckers themselves. If a tractor-trailer driver crashes or collides with a passenger vehicle, and it is discovered that the company has forced the driver to ignore the new safety rules under the order, that company can be held liable for any injuries sustained.
For help with any truck accident, call the experienced truck accident lawyers at Barry, Barall, & Spinella, LLC. You can schedule an appointment by calling 860-649-4400 or by filling out our contact form. We serve clients in Hartford, Manchester, and throughout the state.