The Impact of COVID-19 and Trucking Safety
Since March, the Department of Transportation (DOT) lifted the regulations for hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers that deliver COVID-19 relief. This means that truck drivers do not have restrictions on how long they are permitted to drive. Here’s why this could have an impact on road safety.
The High Demand for Delivery of COVID-19 Essential Goods
Truck drivers are now permitted by the DOT to be on the road for as many hours as needed to deliver essential goods — such as medical masks, gloves, toilet paper, and food items that are in high demand.
Although truck drivers are required to ensure that they take every precaution to stay alert and drive cautiously, the pressure to deliver these goods quickly can have truck drivers working longer hours. Not to mention, when they reach their destination, they most likely have to physically deliver items into the establishment.
Tired and exhausted truck drivers may have slower reaction times should an important driving maneuver need to be made in a split second. When not fully alert, a truck accident can happen fast.
Read on to learn more about the causes of truck accidents.
Why Do Truck Accidents Happen?
If you’ve ever driven past a truck accident scene, you’ve probably wondered, “How did this accident occur?” Here are some of the most common ways truck accidents can happen.
While truck drivers must go through mandated safety training, the following can cause impairment to the driver and slow down their reaction time, and judgment, when on the road — thus resulting in an accident:
- Driving while fatigued or drowsy
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Driving while distracted by texting, talking on the phone, or eating
- Driving recklessly by tailgating, speeding, and ignoring road signs and rules
Lack of Proper Vehicle Maintenance
The Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration (FMCSA) holds motor carriers to high maintenance standards of their fleet. Since large trucks get hundreds to thousands of miles on the road each day, they take on an enormous amount of wear and tear. And when a truck isn’t maintained and inspected properly, its parts can malfunction and cause a severe accident.
While improper maintenance can cause vehicle parts to malfunction, another problem that can cause a truck accident are defective parts from the manufacturer. Here are some common issues:
- Brakes and brake systems
- Windshield wipers
- Steering controls
- Fuel tanks
- Rear underride guards
When roads are slick from rain or icy from freezing temperatures, truck drivers can’t stop performing their job. Because trucks have such a significant weight and size, they can often have issues when needing to stop the vehicle immediately. The FMCSA reports that a truck traveling at 65 MPH needs up to two football fields to make a complete stop.
Improperly Loading Shipments
Trucking companies and truck drivers have a handbook from the FMCSA that outlines how to secure cargo in a truck. Some of the basics include meeting guidelines on the positioning of the shipment, as well as to take into consideration the following:
- Weight of the load
- Size of the load
- Length of the load
- Width of the load
- Height of the load
At Strong-Garner-Bauer, our Springfield truck accident lawyers work tirelessly to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Trust us to be your advocate and defend your rights after a truck accident.