As a result of the economic downturn that began between 2019 and 2020, truck drivers have been placed in a difficult position. While the majority of trucking companies have maintained high levels of safety, there are some that have put more pressure on their drivers to meet deadlines that are tough due to a lack of drivers and heavy demand.
Unfortunately, when a company presses its drivers to work more than they should and doesn’t take care of its fleet, there is an increased risk of truck crashes and injuries.
Relaxed hours of service requirements put everyone at risk
It’s a reality that the economy has forced some changes in the way the trucking industry works. A lack of drivers combined with difficult problems with the supply chain have caused great demand. In March 2020, the United States went into a national emergency, and this led to massive runs on goods.
While a sudden surge in demand is good for industries overall, it did significantly impact the trucking industry. Suddenly, supply systems were left strained and the government had to address emergency relief efforts such as regulatory rule changes.
Some of the changes resulted in:
- Removing the requirement for drivers to take 30-minute breaks or 34-hour restarts
- Changes to recordkeeping requirements
- Lifting truck weight and size limits in some locales
- The relaxation of the hours of service (HOS) requirements
The big problem with these changes is that they put more stress on drivers who were already worked and pushed to the limit. Some companies took advantage of the relaxation of the rules to push harder, and that increased the likelihood of drivers being overworked and exhausted.
On top of this, the changes in the supply chain affected how easy it was to get parts for repairs, so some vehicles may not have been taken out of service when they should have been.
Truck accidents are largely preventable if the drivers are given proper rest time and their vehicles are maintained adequately. If you suffer injuries in a truck accident because those proper actions were not taken, then you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for your injuries.