What You Need to Know About the Regulation Changes for Semi-Truck Drivers After COVID-19
Last updated Tuesday, June 27th, 2023
As a response to COVID-19 and the growing truck driver shortage in the United States, the White House implemented new regulation changes for semi-truck drivers. These changes waive:
- Hours-of-service limits
- Strict CDL renewals and related requirements
- Age restrictions
However, with these waivers put in place, road users are at risk of getting into truck accidents. Here is what you need to know about the regulation changes for semi-truck drivers after COVID-19 and what you can do if you or a loved one ever gets into a truck accident.
Hours of Service Regulations Have Been Waived to Meet Commerce Demands
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) announced in 2021 that hours-of-service time limits have been waived to allow truck drivers to transport COVID-19 relief and essential goods more efficiently. These goods include vaccines, medical supplies and equipment, food and emergency restocking, and fuel, among other types of supplies.
Hours-of-Service Limits Prevent Driver Fatigue
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended this emergency declaration in 2022, noting that the effort is to provide direct emergency assistance for supply chains. Standard hours-of-service time limits set by the FMCSA typically include:
- 11-hour time limit on driving shifts, with 14-hour time limits per day (including 10 hours off duty)
- 30-minute breaks every eight hours of driving
- 60/70-hour limits per seven to eight days
Without these maximums, truck drivers who overexert themselves to fulfill delivery demands may become fatigued, which could lead to accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) lists driver fatigue as a known crash risk, noting that drivers who work for more than eight hours behind the wheel are twice as likely to get into accidents.
White House Announced Other Federal Regulation Changes
The White House also announced that it wanted to waive certain obstacles to obtaining or maintaining commercial driver licenses (CDLs) by:
- Extending renewal deadlines for CDL holders
- Giving third-party CDL skills test examiners more permissions to certify CDL drivers
- Allowing people with commercial permit licenses (CPLs) to operate commercial vehicles as long as a CDL is inside the vehicle to supervise
- Reducing barriers to obtaining CDLs, including delays in having licenses delivered
- Creating a 90-day, accelerated Registered Apprenticeship program
- Reaching out to veterans to recruit them as CDL drivers
These waivers pose a risk, in that drivers with little experience may have permission to operate commercial vehicles on the road. Inexperienced CDL drivers are more likely to make common mistakes, such as failing to open wide enough to make turns or braking at a safe distance to come to a full stop.
New Rule Allows Drivers as Young as 18 to Drive Semi-Trucks Across State Lines
In January 2022, CNN announced that the trucking industry is also opening up the apprenticeship program to people as young as 18 years of age. Initially, people under 21 years of age could drive intrastate but not interstate, meaning they could not cross state borders. However, with this new apprenticeship program, this age restriction would be waived to decrease the truck driver shortage in the country.
According to the report, drivers younger than 21 showed a 500 percent increase in accidents in a University of Michigan study. Teen drivers generally have higher rates of driver distraction, fatigue, and error due to inexperience and immaturity, according to the IIHS.
You May Qualify to Pursue Compensation if You Were Injured in a Truck Accident
As these regulations change the trucking industry, people may fall victim to inexperienced truck drivers on the road. If you or a loved one got into a truck accident and developed injuries as a result, you have a right to demand compensation from the liable party. A truck accident lawyer from our firm can help you pursue compensation for damages, such as:
- Medical expenses (both current and future costs)
- Income loss
- Reduced earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Permanent disability or physical disfigurement
- Emotional distress
Our in-house litigation team can investigate your truck accident to collect evidence, then build a comprehensive case argument against the at-fault truck driver, trucking company, or another liable party on your behalf. Our attorneys serve people in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.
Each state has a time frame to take legal action which is called statute of limitations. Depending on your state, you will only have a certain amount of time. A lawyer will be able to tell you how much time you have left and the next steps to take.
Call Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers Today to Begin Your Claim
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, whether as a result of these new regulation changes for semi-truck drivers after COVID-19 or some other reason, you may qualify for compensation. Our team at Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers is ready to review your case and see how we may be able to hold the appropriate liable party or parties accountable for your damages.
Call today to receive a free consultation with a member of our team. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not owe any attorney’s fees or costs unless we win your case.