During the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and shelter-in-place measures have reduced the number of passenger cars on America’s highways and interstates. Yet delivery drivers are out in full force, trying to meet the demands of an immobilized public that relies on deliveries more than ever before. The need for raw materials, emergency supplies, and stocked grocery store shelves means delivery drivers’ services are invaluable, but how does this affect the safety of our roads?
While there is still so much to learn and understand in this unprecedented era, it’s clear that the following factors could contribute to a rise in semi truck and big rig accidents.
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Increased Pressure Due to Demand
Commercial drivers already work long hours and adhere to rigorous schedules. Driver fatigue and speeding are a few of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents, and the increased demand and pressure from motor carriers could lead to more exhaustion, distracted driving, and recklessness.
Loosened Work Hour Restrictions
The U.S. Department of Transportation has loosened hours-of-service regulations to meet immediate needs for medical supplies and equipment, as well as food and paper products. Drivers providing “direct assistance” as outlined in the emergency relief declaration do not need to count those hours toward the 60/70 hour-on-duty limit, and are also exempt from the 30-minute break rule. Just like before, drivers must take a minimum 10-hour break after each shift, but ultimately this means drivers providing direct assistance are facing longer work hours.
Fewer Places to Stop and Rest
Travel centers and rest stops have had to limit their services in order to keep their employees and customers safe. Commercial drivers can still pick up food and shower, but most driver lounges, game rooms, and fitness centers are now closed, which means drivers have fewer means of relaxing and unwinding during the breaks. This contributes not only to fatigue but also to the sense of isolation and boredom that many truckers experience, which can lead to drug use and distracted driving.
Why Hire a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Semi-truck accidents are exceptionally destructive and devastating due to the sheer size, weight, and maneuvering difficulty of large commercial vehicles. If you were injured in a commercial vehicle accident, you may face high medical costs, lost earnings, and other losses both economic and non-economic. You must prove that the other driver was at fault in order to obtain financial recovery, while also focusing on your physical and mental recovery. This can be especially challenging at a time when hospitals are strapped for healthy personnel and supplies, and when something as simple as making an appointment with a physical therapist or picking up meds at a pharmacy is difficult.
That is why you need an advocate during this confusing and chaotic time. An experienced commercial vehicle lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of communicating with insurance providers who will want to devalue or deny your claim. They will seek out evidence to prove that the other driver(s) or their employer were negligent and ultimately responsible for the accident and your resulting injuries. And they will provide crucial support and guidance that will help you feel confident making life-altering decisions about your case.
At FVF, we offer free, remote consultations without requiring any sort of commitment from you. It is our goal to educate you about your case and your best options for receiving a fair settlement. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may complicate your case in unexpected ways and are prepared to meet this challenge alongside you.
If you would like to discuss your case with one of our expert commercial accident lawyers, free of charge, contact us today to schedule your consultation.