The unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic are the essential workers who are placing their lives at risk so that West Tennessee residents can stay safe. They deliver our medicine, our food, and other essential products to the shelves of our local stores. Even as Tennessee towns and cities begin the process of reopening, essential workers and delivery workers still face risks on the road:
- Many drivers are taking improper advantage of the reduced highway traffic to drive above the speed limit and to commit other types of traffic infractions. According to US News, while the number of car accidents is generally declining, the severity of car crashes is increasing due to speeding and negligent driving. Pedestrians and bicyclists who are struck by a speeding vehicle are likely to die or need long-term medical care if they are hit by a car going too fast.
- Delivery drivers rely on their GPS systems to make deliveries to unfamiliar areas, which means they may have to look at their GPS system while driving. This can lead to collisions.
- It may take longer to get emergency help because ambulance drivers, EMT workers, and the police need to figure out how to help victims while protecting themselves from exposure to the disease.
- Delivery drivers and workers performing essential services are very likely to be tired, because there is so much pressure to go, go, go. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has even relaxed the rules on how often truck drivers can drive without taking rests. This puts them at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Essential work drivers are being asked to work extremely long hours during very stressful situations. Tired drivers can easily lose control of their vehicle as their faculties fail, they fall asleep, or they reach for a jolt of caffeine in their coffee. And those who suffer a TBI, spinal cord damage, broken bones, or other injuries due to a car accident will need emergency medical help which may expose them to other patients and hospital workers who have the COVID-19 disease.
Car accidents when the lockdown lifts
Even as the economy opens up, the dynamics of road travel will be different than before the pandemic. Even though work in restaurants, retail stores, and other non-essential services and companies may be legally permitted, many people will still make staying home a priority. The convenience of online ordering may lead to a permanent increase in delivery and commercial drivers.
On the other hand, we may see a spike in the number of cars on the road just because people will be happy to go somewhere. Commuters who took trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation may shift to driving again because it’s very difficult to engage in social distancing in public transportation, or because driving is more convenient. If you’ve been traveling on open roads for weeks or even months, that sudden influx of traffic can be a problem.
Drivers are still getting into car accidents on West Tennessee roads. The rate of accidents will only increase as more people take to the roads as the weather warms up and as restrictions are lifted. At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our Memphis and Jackson car wreck attorneys have the experience and resources to help injury victims and the families of deceased victims get justice. We’ve been fighting for car accident victims since 1986. To discuss your car accident case, call us at 901-475-7434 or complete our contact form.