Many people know that trucker fatigue has long been a serious issue and one that exposed the general public to a great deal of risk. A tired driver operating an extremely large tractor-trailer may be at a heightened risk of causing an accident compared to a driver who is rested and fully alert. It is for this reason that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created its Hours of Service rule a few years ago.
The HOS rule mandated a maximum number of hours that a trucker could drive. Hour limits were set forth on a daily and a weekly basis. The rule also outlined the duration of breaks and the frequency for breaks within a single shift, between daily shifts and between working weeks.
Now, Transport Topics reports that the HOS rule may be lifted in select situations to allow some drivers to better support the needs caused by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, a driver who is transporting medical supplies or medical personnel to a facility where COVID-19 testing or treatment is being conducted may not be under the provisions of the Hours of Service rule. The federal government, in essence, has eased one regulation aimed at improving safety to allow for help in providing greater safety and health.
Truckers driving loads of fuel, food, essential personal goods like toilet paper, cleaning products and more may also be exempt from the Hours of Service rule. One may hope that with more people staying at home during the outbreak, the risk to the general public may be minimized while these rules are eased.