Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, truck drivers and delivery drivers have literally become the lifeblood of our economy. Amazon truck drivers and truck drivers for grocery stores, clothing stores, and other retail stores are proving the essential products we need to survive. Many people are using food delivery services such as Instacart, Grubhub, restaurant drivers, and pharmacies to get their food and medicines.
During these difficult times, the good news is that there are many fewer drivers on North Carolina’s roads and highways. All truck and delivery drivers need to be aware of their legal requirements and the steps they can take to reduce the odds of an accident during these stressful times.
Avoid driving while fatigued
On March 13, 2020, the FMCSA changed its regulations which limited the number of hours a truck driver could operate his/her vehicle without getting rest. The changes apply only to commercial drivers making essential deliveries such as:
- Medical supplies and equipment related to COVID-19 testing, diagnosis, and treatment
- Supplies and equipment necessary for healthcare workers, sanitation workers, and others
- Restocking of food shelves
- Supplies, equipment, and people necessary for quarantine and temporary housing facilities
- Other listed personnel
Drivers who complete their deliveries must make sure they are off-duty for at least 10 hours if they are transporting property and at least 8 hours if they are transporting people.
While the FMCSA regulations may allow for longer hours for some drivers, all drivers who experience fatigue should consider getting off the road to avoid a truck accident and letting another driver make the delivery.
Avoid driving while distracted
Truck drivers and car drivers who are making deliveries to warehouses, stores, and homes need to know where they are going. In this day and age, most drivers rely on GPS systems to guide them to their destinations.
Drivers should check their routes before they get into their vehicles. They use should voice GPS systems so they don’t have to watch a monitor or screen.
Drivers should also make sure they don’t eat, drink, text, or talk on a cellphone while they’re driving. Drivers who are distracted aren’t looking at the traffic in front of them and can’t respond to emergencies.
Follow the state and local traffic laws
All truck drivers and car drivers must still obey the traffic laws. Speeding, running through a red light or stop sign, passing when there isn’t room, or any traffic violation can cause a fatality or serious injury. Drivers and the owners of the trucks and cars involved in the accident can be held liable for the pain and suffering they cause, lost income, and the medical bills of all victims.
Vehicle owners in North Carolina must have liability insurance if they are using their own vehicles. The minimum liability requirements in North Carolina are:
- Bodily injury – one victim: $30,000
- Bodily injury – multiple victims: $60,000
- Property damage: $25,000
The truth is, this is not enough insurance coverage. A wreck leading to serious and life-threatening injuries can increase costs exponentially. Vehicles owners should also purchase uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage in case the person who hits them isn’t insured or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for the damages. In some cases, owners may be required to have higher amounts of insurance coverage. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates a minimum of $750,000 of insurance coverage for commercial motor vehicles.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a motor vehicle collision, the experienced Charlotte truck and car accident lawyers at Warren & Kallianos, PLLC can help you get justice. We work with experts of all types to help establish liability against the at-fault party and to document your injuries and losses sustained at the hands of the negligent party. For help with any vehicle accident in Charlotte or across North Carolina, call us at 704-377-7777, or fill out our contact form to arrange to speak with our dedicated lawyers.