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Coronavirus HOS Rule Changes by the FMCSA: Albuquerque Trucking Accident Lawyers Explain

Understanding the Coronavirus HOS Rule Changes by the FMCAS: Explained by our Albuquerque Trucking Accident Lawyers

The coronavirus known as COVID-19 has caused a global pandemic and is affecting the entire United States, including New Mexico.  Medical supplies and food supplies are becoming increasingly necessary throughout the country.  Truck drivers and other delivery vehicles are in high demand and facing pressure to continue making deliveries.  As a result of this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has relaxed some fo the hours of service (HOS) regulations that apply.  Our Albuquerque trucking accident lawyers explain these important changes and how it may affect motorists how may be at an increased danger by fatigued truck drivers.

What are Hours of Service Regulations?

Hours of services regulations, or HOS, are promulgated by the FMCSA and are intended to place maximum time limits on how long a truck driver can operate a commercial vehicle in a 24 hour period, 7 day period, and 8 day period.  These are important safety regulations used to combat fatigued or sleep deprived truck drivers.  Not only could tired and sleep deprived truck drivers be dangerous, but the general fatigue from operating a commercial truck can also be exhausting and general fatigue which makes it harder to steer, brake, and effectively operate the truck.  As a result, this could be very dangerous for others on or around the roads. 

Of the applicable HOS regulations, a truck driver may not operate a commercial vehicle for more than 14 hours on-shift and must have 10-hours off-shift.  This is a 24-hour cycle that must be followed.  Our Albuquerque trucking accident lawyers know that this 24-hour cycle is a critical cycle to protect the health and safety of all people on the roadways.

Coronavirus HOS Rule Changes by the FMCSA

Due to the extreme needs for medical supplies, food, and increased staff, the FMCSA has suspended the 24 hours shift clock and some other HOS regulations for truck drivers and trucking companies which are activity supporting the COVID-19 relief effort.  This means that all essential supplies may be re-routed.  However, non-essential deliveries are not allowed to violate these regulations and they must still follow the COVID-19 regulations.

The FMCSA exceptions to the HOS for COVID-19 essential trucking services include the following:

  • Medical supplies and equipment to test or treat
  • Medical supplies and equipment for healthcare providers or for public officials to help fight community spread
  • Items for restocking food stores, including equipment and supplies
  • Transporting essential service individuals
  • Persons designated by federal, state, or local authorities for transport for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes, and
  • Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services.

This means that truck drivers and trucking companies providing these essential supplies and services can be allowed to operate a motor vehicle behind the HOS regulations for the 24-hour shift clock.

Injured by a New Mexico Trucking Accident After the Coronavirus HOS rule changes by the FMCSA?  Our Albuquerque Trucking Accident Lawyers Can Help

The HOS regulations, while relaxed, do not allow a truck driver who is physically tired and fatigued from operating a commercial vehicle.  Nor do these HOS regulations waive the rights of a victim or his or her family.  A truck driver who falls asleep at the wheel can still be liable for negligently causing New Mexico trucking accident.  

If you or a loved one were injured in any trucking accident, especially due to a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel, call to schedule your FREE appointment with our lawyers at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. by dialing (505) 883-5000.  We handle causes throughout New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Roswell, Cuervo, Rio Rancho, Clovis, Farmington, Hobbs, Albuquerque where our office is located, and anywhere else throughout New Mexico.  Please call to schedule for FREE appointment by dialing (505) 883-5000 or contact us through our website’s easy to use and convenient contact box available here.

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