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What does a pause in Hours of Service regulations mean?

Truckers might be working more hours than usual in the foreseeable future. In an announcement made on March 15, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a temporary change to the Hours of Service regulations that limit how long truckers can drive without taking a break.

The Hours of Service regulations limit trucker to 11 hours of driving time before requiring them to take a 10-hour break if they're carrying goods. The new regulations still have some limitations, but not nearly as strict at the temporarily paused ones.

Are all truckers exempt from the Hours of Service?

No, not all truckers are exempt. In order to bypass the regulations, the trucker must be providing support directly assisting the relief efforts for coronavirus. This includes those who are transporting medical equipment and tests, supplies for temporary housing or quarantine facilities, and personnel who will provide emergency services. Truckers who have food and safety items like gloves, sanitizer and similar items are also exempt.

What does the temporary pause allow?

The temporary pause allows the trucker to drive longer than 11 hours per shift. It still requires a rest period of 10 hours for goods-carrying truckers or eight hours for people carrying drivers. The requirement for the rest period begins when the trucker drops off the load at the intended destination.

Unfortunately, the longer driving hours for these truckers may lead to an uptick in trucker fatigue. This can pose a considerable hazard to others on the road because when a semitruck driver starts to doze off or zone out while driving, their vehicle becomes a weapon of sorts.

How can drivers remain safe?

Giving your full attention to driving is the primary way you can increase your safety. Watch what's going on around you so that you're aware of truckers who are exhibiting signs of fatigue, such as swerving in an out of lanes. If you notice a semitruck doing this, you can contact the authorities when it's safe to do so to alert them to the danger. They might be able to stop the trucker and make sure they're in an appropriate condition to continue their haul.

Anyone who's injured in a semitruck crash that's due to a trucker who's fatigued might opt to pursue a claim for compensation. This helps to put the financial responsibility on the parties who are liable for the crash instead of placing it on the victim. Your claim might include things like missed wages and medical care costs, as well as others.

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