Covid and Easing of Truck Safety Regulations
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the incidents of truck crashes in the state of PA are among the highest in the nation. The FMCSA, an arm of the US Department of Transportation, is tasked not only with tracking the safety records of commercial motor vehicles, but also with regulating the industry. They are focused on reducing large truck and bus crashes, injuries and fatalities. They perform roadside inspections, investigate truck crashes and develop and enforce safety regulations.
In 2013, the FMCSA Hours of Service regulations to limit truck driver fatigue went into effect in an attempt to reduce the number of truck crashes. The rules specify the maximum number of consecutive hours that commercial truckers can drive, the frequency and length of their rest breaks and number of hours of required off duty time. Most drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving over a 14 hour workday.
This all changed following the announcement of the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Declaration. The declaration applies to carriers bringing cargo directly related to relief efforts for the coronavirus pandemic. In PA, a declaration has also been issued on the maximum weight of covered carriers. This description of carriers exempted from the Hours of Service and weight regulations casts a wide net and includes those transporting: medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; items to prevent the spread of the virus such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectants; food and paper goods for emergency restocking of store and distribution centers; raw materials needed for the manufacture of covered items; fuel; equipment and supplies for temporary housing related to the coronavirus for purposes including quarantine and isolation.
These big rig drivers are putting themselves at risk by driving longer hours and often with heavier loads than is typical. If you are a truck driver or are on the road with a commercial vehicle, remember to practice safe driving habits. Avoid blind spots, increase following distance and stay alert. Lets help to avoid any unnecessary trucking accidents.
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