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Trump Administration Suspends Truck Safety Law in Light of Coronavirus Pandemic

Last week, in an unprecedented move, the Trump administration suspended an 82-year-old road safety law that prevents truck drivers from operating their vehicles for more than 11 hours in one day. This is the first time in history that this restriction has been suspended on the national level.

The suspension of this hours-of-service law (HOS) comes as a result of a sudden and increased need for medical supplies combined with an epidemic unrelated to the novel strain of coronavirus currently spreading worldwide—panic buying.

With stores around the country lacking in everything from pasta to toilet paper while demand for supplies exponentially increases, drastic measures have been necessary. Aside from lifting HOS, some states have also declared that weight restrictions on truckloads may be relaxed. Putting more trucks on the road and for longer should help. Yet, there’s a detriment to these practices as well—the potential for more truck accidents.

Why Truck Accidents Are So Dangerous—Especially Now

Truck accidents are one of the deadliest types of motor vehicle accidents. This is due to the immense size and weight of commercial trucks—smaller vehicles such as cars and motorcycles don’t stand a chance when it comes to a collision with a big rig, so these accidents often result in catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death for the people inside.

Aside from their size and weight, two major factors contribute to deadly truck accidents:

  • Truck drivers often drive for long hours on end, leading to driver fatigue and decreased focus
  • Improper loading, which can to an imbalance that can cause the truck to tip over

By encouraging truck drivers to ignore restrictions on how long they can drive without breaks while simultaneously lifting weight restrictions, governments are creating dangerous conditions that could potentially lead to more—and deadlier—truck accidents. Exhausted drivers carrying precarious loads and operating under increasingly stressful conditions is a recipe for disaster.

We understand this is already a trying time for many, but we urge those who must get on the road to exercise more caution than usual—especially around trucks. In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one does get into an accident, you can rest assured knowing that our office remains open.

Thorp Law offers free initial consultations over the phone, so we can handle your case without you even having to leave your home. If you are in need of a Raleigh truck accident attorney, give us a call at (919) 373-3390 or write to us online.