There are numerous rules in place intended to restrict potentially dangerous behavior on the part of commercial drivers. Federal regulations limit their use of digital technology at the wheel, their ability to drive with certain medical issues and even the right to drive after a specific number of hours on the road.
Hours of service limits are federal regulations that aim to prevent fatigued commercial driving. However, in recent months, due to increased ground transit demand, many commercial drivers have been given exemptions that allow them to drive for longer. Unfortunately, while that may help keep the economy moving, it puts other drivers at risk for a crash.
Fatigue can be as dangerous as alcohol behind the wheel
When a person feels tired, their brain doesn’t function optimally. Exhaustion can increase how long it takes someone to respond to unexpected scenarios and make it harder for them to focus. Those effects can drastically impact how safe a driver is at the wheel. Given how much more difficult it is to drive a commercial vehicle than a passenger one, driver fatigue could easily lead to a crash.
With more truck drivers potentially exempt from the rules that limit how long they drive, the potential exists for more people to suffer injuries in crashes caused by overly exhausted commercial truck drivers. These expanded exemptions are now in place through the end of the year, which could mean that more people get hurt in preventable collisions.
When crashes happen, the victims may have massive medical bills as well as property damage costs. They may need to negotiate six-figure insurance settlements or even bring a personal injury claim against a company or owner-operator in some circumstances. If you’re in this position, an experienced attorney can help you.