The COVID-19 case count in Austin has entered the hundreds. With Travis County sheltering in place and non-essential businesses operations suspended to avoid further spread, overall vehicle traffic has decreased. However, there has been a sharp increase in demand for delivery services that provide needed supplies to Austin residents. From food delivery app employees to semi-truck drivers transporting medical equipment, delivery drivers are out in droves — which means we could see more commercial vehicle accidents.
How COVID-19 Has Changed Delivery Driving in Austin
Delivery driving is a demanding job that often requires working long hours to stay on schedule. While many members of the workforce end a work day after eight hours, hours-of-service regulations stipulate that commercial motor vehicle drivers can drive 11 hours within a 14-hour window. These long hours can lead to a lack of sleep that results in impaired response time. With many employers relying heavily on their drivers in order to stay relevant and profitable during the COVID-19 outbreak, there will undoubtedly be more pressure on drivers to push through fatigue and stretch their shifts to meet demand.
Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an emergency declaration that provides hours-of-service exemptions for motor vehicle operations that are “providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts.” While this helps to accelerate the transportation of needed medical equipment and grocery store inventory, it could also result in more fatigued delivery drivers navigating Austin roads.
Meanwhile, truck stops, rest areas, and travel centers are limiting their amenities in order to maintain the safety of their employees and guests. Most still serve drive-through and carry-out food and provide showers, but opportunities for relaxation are more difficult to come by, which means many truck drivers are not getting the same quality of rest on their much-needed breaks.
Commercial motor vehicles aren’t the only cause for concern, however; they are sharing the road with local delivery drivers, many working for restaurants that have recently added or expanded their delivery options and are hiring more drivers at a breakneck pace. That means there are hurried drivers who may be new to the job frequently using their phones to navigate and communicate while driving.
There is still much to learn about the impact COVID-19 will ultimately have on the number of accidents that occur on Austin roads, but one thing is certain: if you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, you should speak with an Austin truck accident lawyer about your options.
When to Hire an Austin Truck Accident Lawyer
The aftermath of a truck accident can be a confusing time. It is important to tend to your well-being, which means seeking any necessary medical care first. But you also need to begin protecting your case and putting yourself in the best position to receive financial recovery from the at-fault party. This means consulting with an experienced lawyer who can review the details of your case and educate you on your rights.
At FVF, our truck accident lawyers offer free, no-pressure consultations that will help you understand the various facets of your case and the best way to proceed. Should you decide to hire an FVF lawyer, we will work tirelessly to prove that the other driver or their employer was at fault for the accident and secure financial recovery that will cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses — both economic and non-economic.
Our firm has more than 70 years of combined medical experience, and we will use it to deliver results on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a free, remote consultation that will help you feel more confident taking the next steps after your accident.