Truck Regulations and Road Safety
We have been living with the new reality of the coronavirus pandemic for a few weeks now. Many aspects of everyday life have changed drastically. Events have been canceled, travel is restricted, and schools are closed. Certain industries like the airline industry are seeing a major hit. But others are struggling to keep up with demand. One example is the trucking industry. Government officials are making difficult decisions to combat the coronavirus and its ripple effect of consequences. One such decision is influencing truck regulations and road safety.
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Coronavirus in Nevada
As of March 31, Nevada’s positive COVID-19 cases passed 1,000 and coronavirus deaths totaled 18. So far, 11,215 people have been tested for the coronavirus in the state of Nevada. Just like the rest of the country, these stats are changing daily.
The World Health Organization‘s declaration that the coronavirus is a global pandemic has forced states in the U.S. to take extreme measures. On March 12th, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak declared an emergency for the State of Nevada in response to the growing concern of COVID-19. Nevada, like many other states, decided to shut down all nonessential businesses. These closures have spun consumers into panic buying and stores are struggling to keep up with demand. We are spending most of our time indoors, we are working from home, and we are seeing empty grocery store shelves.
“What we have seen with this huge demand is three months worth of inventory wiped out within a week’s time,” said Paul Enos, CEO of the Nevada Trucking Association.
People are stocking up on items like toilet paper, water, household cleaners frozen and nonperishable foods. Nevada distribution centers are struggling to load trucks fast enough to replenish markets and stores.
Changes to Truck Regulations and Road Safety
On March 13th, President Trump declared a national emergency due to the coronavirus. In response to this declaration the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced nation-wide relief of hours-of-service regulations for commercial vehicle drivers. The FMCSA is a federal agency responsible for regulating interstate trucking. Some states like Virginia, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Illinois took this relief even further by temporarily suspending weight restrictions.
Truck drivers move about 70% of the nation’s goods by weight. They are responsible for delivering important items like food, fuel, and medicine. The hours-of-service laws are a road safety measure for truck drivers, which have been in place since the 1930s. This is the first time in history these truck regulations have been suspended. Under normal circumstances the FMCSA’s truck regulations mandate:
- Alcohol testing of drivers
- Drug testing of drivers
- Hours of Service regulations
- Truck maintenance rules
- Vehicle marking requirements
FMCSA’s recent regulatory relief efforts are intended to meet immediate needs for:
- Medical supplies and equipment related to COVID-19 testing, treatment and diagnosis.
- Masks, gloves, sanitizer and other supplies and equipment needed for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19.
- Raw materials like paper, plastic or alcohol that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
- Equipment, supplies, and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine
- Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
- Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.
Next, we’re going to examine how all these regulatory changes affect road safety, with a special eye on the roadways in Las Vegas and the surrounding area. In these unprecedented times, the potential for truck accidents may be more prevalent. Should you become the victim in a truck accident, don’t hesitate to call Anthem Injury Lawyers: (702) 857-6000. Our extensive experience as truck accident lawyers gives you an advantage when it comes to seeking the compensation you deserve. Call us today.
Relaxed Truck Regulations Impact on Road Safety
Las Vegas rests along the I-10 corridor that transports goods from Los Angeles to places east of Vegas. Reno-Sparks and Winneucca-Elko are also key regions along the 1-80 supply line. All of these areas are at risk of trucking accidents.
These new FMCSA relaxed truck regulations could have an impact on Nevada road safety. Truck drivers could be working longer hours with fewer opportunities for rest. Fatigued drivers could lead to trucking accidents. In addition to feeling tired, truck drivers might feel the added pressure of completing deliveries. They might feel anxious about the current state of emergency. Driving under stress can also lead to more trucking accidents.
According to the FMCSA, “the emergency declaration stipulates that once a driver has completed his or her delivery, the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and 8 hours if transporting passengers.” Hopefully this amount of rest is enough to keep drivers safe when they are at work and driving 18-wheelers and freight carriers. Getting hit by a commercial truck can be terrifying. The average length of a semi-trailer is 70 to 80 feet. Fortunately, with Nevadans obeying the stay-at-home order, there are less passenger vehicles on the road.
Tips for Road Safety and Trucks
Keeping in mind these altered truck safety regulations, it is important to understand how to safely share the roads and highways with trucks. Although most of these tips apply to regular vehicles, they are especially true for driving near trucks. Here are some road safety tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid blind spots. Many commercial trucks have indicators and reminders that they have blind spots. Try to stay visible to the truck driver at all times. For example, if you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, then the truck driver most likely can’t see you.
- Pass with caution. Large trucks can’t brake as quickly or maneuver as easily as a passenger vehicle. Always be careful when you pass a truck. Try to give them additional time to adjust their speed.
- Give clear signals. Always use your turn signals so drivers can anticipate your actions. When driving near a truck, use your turn signals a little earlier than normal so the truck driver has plenty of time to adjust their driving.
- Keep distance. When sharing the road with a truck, keep as much distance between you and the truck as possible. Try not to be close to a truck for too long because this increases your risk of an accident. Factors such as tire blowouts or high winds can cause a truck accident. The more distance you can keep between you and the truck the less likely you will be involved in the accident.
- Merge carefully. If a traffic is slowing down, avoid merging in front of a truck. Wait until the truck has passed to merge. If a truck is trying to merge, decelerate to decrease the truck’s passing time.
- Avoid distractions. Distracted driving is dangerous no matter what. If you are texting or eating while driving near a truck, you have an increased risk of getting into an accident.
Experienced Las Vegas Truck Accident AttorneysWere you or a family member injured in an accident with a large truck in the Las Vegas, Nevada area? If you’ve been in an accident with a commercial truck in or around Las Vegas, it’s important to work with an experienced truck accident lawyer – an auto accident attorney who can structure all the evidence into a winning case for you. Looking up information on the Internet can be helpful, but the expertise that a seasoned truck accident lawyer can offer you can make all the difference when it comes to receiving maximum compensation for your injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a big rig or tractor trailer and you would like to speak with an experienced truck accident law firm, contact Anthem Injury Lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
Our personal injury attorneys are ready to start working on your truck accident case. Our phone number is (702) 857-6000.
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