On March 13, 2020, the Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that they would be suspending the hours-of-service regulations for commercial vehicle drivers transporting critical supplies such as medical equipment, masks, and food in response to COVID-19. This move would “help America’s commercial drivers get these critical goods to impacted areas faster and more efficiently,” FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen said.
Normally, these restrictions limit the driving hours for commercial truckers to reduce the number of accidents caused by fatigue. But with more flexibility on these regulations, there’s a greater concern for other drivers on the road.
Fatigue Leads to Motor Vehicle Crashes
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in one year. It’s a major problem for all motorists, but the repercussions may be worse for truckers. The FMCSA conducted a study on the causes of trucking accidents, and the data showed that 13% of truck drivers were involved in crashes due to fatigue.
Commercial truckers spend long hours behind the wheel and have expectations to meet strict deadlines that could lead to unsafe driving. That, coupled with the substantial size of their vehicle, can result in a fatal accident.
Countless people and professions have emerged as heroes during these uncertain times, including truck drivers. However, drivers must remember that even though there may be fewer cars on the road, they should continue to practice safe driving techniques.
Sharing the Road with a Commercial Truck
Accidents are unpredictable, but there are steps motorists can take to reduce their chances of being involved in one. Consider these tips when driving near a commercial truck:
Drive defensively. No matter how skilled you are behind the wheel, you must remain alert at all times— especially around large trucks. This means to keep your focus on the task at hand rather than letting distractions take over. Pay close attention to the road conditions so that you have
Keep a safe distance. Leave plenty of space between you and a truck in case anything were to happen, such as a tire blowout or rollover. A good rule of thumb is to keep a four-second following distance between your vehicle and a truck’s trailer.
Avoid a truck’s blind spots. Large trucks have more blind spots than passenger vehicles and be sure to know where they are. The right side of a commercial truck is the largest one, so you should steer clear of it. You should also avoid spending too much time directly in front of the cab and behind the trailer.
Dealing with injuries from an accident under any circumstance is difficult, but it’s even more challenging right now. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car or trucking accident, our personal injury attorneys are here to help you with your case.
Schedule a virtual meeting with our personal injury attorneys today by calling (305) 783-3301.