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The Cooper Law Firm is a truck accident law firm in Texas that works with victims who have been injured in truck accidents. As we learn more about the symptoms of COVID-19, it is becoming increasingly clear that illness can do more than threaten your life, it can also impair driving ability, and result in drivers not being able to properly focus on the road. For those of us who get sick close to home, COVID-19 symptoms might mean staying home, getting proper rest, and seeking medical attention if symptoms become life-threatening. But what about truck drivers who get sick on the road? Their decision to keep driving could potentially put not only others with whom they work at risk, but also potentially result in impaired driving. The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines about the steps that truck companies should take to keep their workforce healthy and to ensure that safe, alert, non-fatigued, and healthy drivers are on the road. What responsibilities do truck companies have during the coronavirus pandemic?
The CDC has issued the following guidelines:
- Truck companies have been asked to urge drivers to stay home if they are sick and drivers who have been sick should not return to work until they have been advised that it’s okay to leave isolation.
- Companies should provide training to drivers about how COVID-19 spreads and implement hand-washing requirements among workers to prevent the spread of illness.
- Truck companies should provide personal protective equipment to truck drivers, hand sanitizer, and install additional safety measures, like barriers between drivers.
- Truck companies have been asked to try to implement contact-free delivery practices, especially in areas where there is highest risk of transmission, such as during payment or signature.
- Truck companies should advise their drivers which rest stops are open and properly supplied. They also should vet their hotels and other service stops to ensure that these facilities are also implementing best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Truck companies should always follow local orders regarding essential services and business activities.
- Truck companies should also revisit their sick leave policies and make sure these policies encourage workers to stay home when ill.
- Companies should implement a standard for contact tracing or contacting fellow employees and contacts if a worker or truck driver falls ill.
- Truck companies should consider their drivers’ routes to ensure that drivers have time to take proper breaks and get proper rest.
Truck companies should also have a clear plan in place for drivers who become ill on the road. Where should a driver seek medical care if he or she needs it? Where should a driver stay if he or she becomes sick and cannot drive on? Who should the driver contact if he or she becomes sick so that others who have been in contact with him or her can be informed? Having a clear plan in place is important because COVID-19 can strike anyone, anywhere.
The risks of driving while sick can be great. Not only might drivers take cold medicine or other medication to help them get through the shift which could impact driving ability, but COVID-19 is known to affect a driver’s alertness and mental clarity. In severe cases, individuals could be at risk of passing out due to lack of oxygen, which could create a seriously dangerous situation on the road. Ultimately, drivers and truck companies have a responsibility to be informed about the risks, have a plan in place for when or if illness strikes, and take action if needed.
If you or someone you love was hurt in a truck accident in Texas, and you believe the other driver might have been fatigued, sick, or otherwise impaired, you may have the right to seek damages for your medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. You may only have a limited amount of time to make a claim under the law, but if a truck company cut corners, failed to have a COVID-19 plan in place, or actively failed to take safety steps with workers, then you and your family might have a case, especially if a driver was behind the wheel while sick.
Truck companies that fail to take the pandemic threat seriously should be held financially accountable for their actions. Not only do sick, tired, and impaired drivers pose a risk to other drivers on the road, but they also pose a risk of spreading illness to Texans. The Cooper Law Firm is a Texas truck accident law firm that may be able to help your family seek justice if a sick, tired, or fatigued driver caused your truck accident. Reach out to our law firm today or connect with USAttorneys.com to get matched with the Cooper Law Firm, a truck accident lawyer in Texas.