Feds Let More Drowsy Truck Drivers Deliver Their Loads

May 11, 2020

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it would waive some safety rules, including hours of service rules, during the coronavirus crisis.

Truckers hauling essential supplies are entitled to an hours of service waiver. This recently-expanded list includes fuel, groceries, medical supplies, manufacturing raw materials, paper products, housing materials, and people necessary to emergency endeavors. Some states have waived additional safety rules, such as weight requirements. This open-ended emergency declaration could extend until the end of 2020.

“The nation’s truck drivers are on the front lines of this effort and are critical to America’s supply chain,” declared Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Truck Driver Fatigue

Most transportation and shipping companies pay drivers by the load instead of by the mile. So, truckers must stay on the road as long as possible in order to make money. Federal HOS (Hours of Service) regulations help deter drowsy driving, and now that this protection is gone, your family faces an increased risk of a serious truck accident.

Drowsiness and alcohol both slow motor skills and impair judgement. In fact, driving after eighteen hours without sleep, which is like a long day behind the wheel, is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for truck drivers in California.

Alcohol and drowsiness have something else in common. There is no quick fix for either condition. Only time cures alcohol intoxication, and only sleep cures drowsiness. Shortcuts like blowing the air conditioner or turning up the radio are largely ineffective.

Sometimes, drowsiness issues start before the driver hits the road. Sleep apnea is very common among truck drivers, mostly because these individuals sit for long periods of time. People with this condition get little if any deep, restorative sleep. So, they are still fatigued in the morning, even if they got a full eight hours’ sack time.

Evidence of drowsiness includes erratic driving prior to the truck crash, the trucker’s medical history, and statements the tortfeasor (negligent driver) made to emergency responders.

Compensation Available

Fully loaded large trucks weight over 80,000 pounds and carry hundreds of gallons of highly-flammable diesel fuel. As a result, the injuries which victims sustain are often catastrophic. In a serious injury case, like a spine injury, the medical bills alone often exceed $4 million.

Due to the serious nature of these injuries, substantial compensation is usually available. This compensation includes money for medical bills, lost property, and other economic losses.

As a side note, a Los Angeles truck accident attorney usually arranges for victims to receive medical treatment and vehicle repair or replacement at no upfront cost.

Compensation in a truck crash claim usually also includes money for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.

Drowsy truck drivers often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.

Sharona Hakim

Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.

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