OAKWOOD, Ill. (WCIA) — Federal regulations for truck drivers were temporarily repealed by the President during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hours of service (HOS) law was established to keep drivers safe. It limits the amount of time a driver can spend on the road. But now, that rule does not apply to those hauling essential items.
Truck drivers spend hours behind the wheel, often traveling hundreds of miles at a time.
Lowell Simpson stopped to get gas Monday afternoon on his way to deliver essential vehicle parts to another state. He said, “It’s important to have a sharp mind. If you don’t get adequate sleep you won’t have that.”
Steve Gold, founder of 160 Driving Academy said, “Essentially truck drivers have to get eight hours of rest after ten hours of driving so they can be ready and fresh for the next day.”
During the COVID-19 crisis, the President enacted temporary changes. The new exemption enables truck drivers to travel for longer periods of time. Gold said, “It’s in order to ensure that critical goods and services could be delivered to important places like emergency supplies.”
Plus, the weight limit has been expanded. Gold said, “We’re all trying to put more products in trailers so we can get more products delivered to grocery stores and emergency supplies.”
There is an important history behind the reason why HOS regulations were established. Gold says, “These laws were enacted to put rules around how many hours a driver can actually drive and how many hours they have to rest.”
But in a pandemic, he believes these changes are beneficial. “I think everyone is concerned about the risk of everyone’s health and safety behind the wheel but given the emergency needs across the United States, this emergency rule made a lot of sense” said Gold.
The changes are temporary. When the President lifts the emergency order, the law will go back to the way it was.