After the October 31 Colonial Pipeline explosion in Shelby County, the governor of Alabama issued a State of Emergency to minimize the disruption of the gasoline supply. In doing so, he expanded the hours gasoline truckers may drive.
Under normal circumstances, truck drivers must follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations that govern the number of hours they may drive without adequate rest. The State of Emergency proclamation, however, suspends the hours-of-service regulations until at least December 1, 2016.
What will the suspension of these regulations mean for other drivers?
With gasoline truckers allowed to drive longer hours with shorter rest periods, there is a chance that driver fatigue could result in accidents. Driver fatigue is a real problem for long-haul truck drivers. It can cause issues such as:
- Falling asleep while driving
- Failing to see traffic signals
- Failing to notice and respond to changing traffic conditions
- Distracted driving
- Mental errors
Any of these issues can cause an accident that puts the truck driver and other people on the road at risk for serious or fatal injuries.
If you or a family member is injured in a trucking accident, you need to know that your case is more complex than a passenger vehicle accident. Because of the FMCSA rules and the involvement of multiple parties, trucking accident cases are never straightforward.
Whether you were the driver of another vehicle or the driver of the truck, you may have a case for compensation for your injuries and financial losses. It is important that you speak with a lawyer to protect your rights.