New Hours of Service Regulations Could Increase Truck Crashes
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across Nevada and the rest of the U.S., the federal government lifted the hours of service rules for the trucking industry to help products get delivered more quickly, but the rule change has increased the risk of truck accidents. The hours of service rules limit the number of hours each day and week that drivers can operate their trucks on the road. The rules also mandate the number of hours that drivers must have off between work shifts. These rules are meant to protect the public by preventing truck drivers from driving while they are fatigued. The lifting of the rules has meant that drivers are driving for long hours, increasing the risk that they will be involved in collisions.
Since the hours of service rules have been relaxed during the pandemic, truck drivers in Nevada are forced to drive for longer hours. The pandemic has also meant that drivers have fewer places to stop along their routes as more places have been forced to close. Truck drivers have fewer options to stop and eat, and many rest stops have also closed. These changes have meant that drivers have few places to pull over and rest. There are many tired truck drivers who are on the roads trying to get their deliveries to their destinations on time. While the pandemic also has resulted in a reduction in traffic on the roads, people who are still commuting to work or traveling for other purposes around trucks have a greater risk of serious injuries in truck accidents caused by drowsy truck drivers.
Truck drivers play a vital role in helping to ensure that critical supplies get to where they need to go. However, trucking carriers have also taken advantage of the hours of service rule changes to place more pressure on drivers to make deliveries regardless of how many hours they have been driving.
What Others Can Do
People who are sharing the roads with truck drivers need to be extra cautious. They should make sure that they give truck drivers a lot of space and remain alert if they see trucks drifting or showing other signs that the drivers might be fatigued. Motorists should always stay aware of trucks traveling around them. People who see trucks weaving or drifting should call for help so that the drivers can be escorted to a safe stopping spot.