As the coronavirus pandemic spreads in Portland and across the country, truckers are among the front line workers. They deliver much needed supplies to the general public, as well as to overwhelmed hospital workers. Under the best of circumstances, driving a truck is a demanding job that requires spending long hours on the road. Drowsy driving-related truck accidents are a major risk. An emergency order recently issued relaxes regulations regarding scheduling, increasing these risks.
Emergency Declaration Expands Hours of Service for Truck Drivers
Alongside medical personnel and grocery store workers, truck drivers are being hailed as heroes for their service to the public in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. While others are off work, their job is in high demand due to the need for extra supplies in grocery stores and hospitals.
To keep up with the demands, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an emergency declaration on March 13, 2020, easing some of the regulations the trucking industry is required to comply with. One of the effects of the emergency order is that truckers can now spend longer periods of time on the road.
Under normal circumstances, the hours a trucker can work are limited to allow them adequate time to rest. This reduces the risk of drowsy driving-related truck accidents. As the number of truckers, in general, has declined in recent years, the need for their services and the important supplies they carry has increased. They are in even higher demand now due to the coronavirus. Despite the potential dangers, truckers will be required to spend even more hours on the road to ensure supplies get to where they are needed most.
How Drowsy Driving Increases Truck Accident Risks
Driving a semi-truck, 18 wheeler, or other big rigs is challenging under the best of circumstances. Every aspect of it takes a certain level of experience and skill, from making sure the truck is properly maintained and loaded securely to navigating various road conditions and pulling into loading docks. One simple error or a lapse in judgment can cause a major truck accident, impacting other motorists on the road. Being excessively tired increases these risks.
According to statistics from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), one out of every six motor vehicle accidents is due to drowsy driving. This number increases when it comes to truck accidents. In addition to the danger of falling asleep behind the wheel, drowsy driving has many of the same effects as driving drunk, which include:
- Impaired judgment and coordination;
- Slower reflexes and response times;
- Impaired vision and increased sensitivity to glare;
- Increased risk of distraction.
Our Portland Truck Accident Attorneys Provide the Legal Guidance You Need
Truck accidents often leave other motorists on the road suffering serious injuries. At the Johnston Law Firm P.C, we provide the trusted legal guidance you need when filing a claim. To schedule a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland truck accident attorneys online today.