During this coronavirus crisis we are advised to go grocery shopping once a week and to stay home whenever possible, which should mean less traffic and safer streets. Children and teens, however, now use suburban roads as playgrounds and sports centers. And more home deliveries have turned these once quiet and safe streets into mini-highways.
As responsible citizens we are not going out to shop so frequently, but companies like Amazon figured out how to make online shopping deliveries fast and frequent even before the COVID-19 crisis, and online shopping has soared – at least in some sectors.
Granted, many truck drivers are essential workers (Newsweek has compiled a detailed list of essential workers, including truck drivers), but is that flat screen T.V. or designer dress delivered by an inexperienced driver really necessary at this time?
At the Killino Law Firm we understand the laws that govern all motor vehicle accidents, including delivery truck accidents. Our highly trained and experienced legal team has a proven track record of success in handling such accidents nationwide, and we know about highway safety.
Delivery Truck Driver Problems
Are delivery companies communicating best safety practices to drivers? Here are a few examples of bad driving habits and issues that can result in delivery van and delivery truck accidents.
- Inexperienced Drivers: Huge delivery trucks need experienced truck drivers not only in terms of handling the truck but also in knowledge of the delivery area. Unfamiliar streets can cause backing up and sudden stops when lost or accidentally passing the destination.
- Speeding: Relentless pressure to “beat the clock” can potentially cause speeding and truck drivers may not be used to speed limits in neighborhoods.
- Not securing cargo: If not properly tied up and doors not locked, cargo may fall off and onto cars or people. Improper packing can cause instability within the truck by shifting the center of gravity causing the truck to swerve and end up rolling over.
- Truck Maintenance: Another problem with delivery vehicles is safety and maintenance. For example, are the brakes and tires checked on a regular basis? Many delivery companies hire independent contractors who drive their own trucks and cargo vans.
- Sudden Lane Change: When kids share the road skateboarding or bike riding, a sudden lane change could be disastrous.
- Intoxicated Drivers: The demand for drivers may cause driver screening to become lax and truck drivers have been know to use illicit drugs to stay alert and others have been found driving while under the influence of narcotics.
Delivery Truck Companies v. Truck Drivers – Who is Responsible?
It’s unknown how many accidents occur shuttling packages from warehouses to your front door. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates trucks and collects data on truck collisions, doesn’t track crashes involving the smaller cargo vans that make up most of Amazon’s delivery force, for instance.
What is known is that delivery companies expect drivers (independent contractors) to supply their own vehicle and insurance.
The New York Times and Pro Publica published an article last Sept 2019 about Amazon not bearing legal responsibility for truck accidents. (Amazon, like many other truck delivery companies and gig economy companies such as Uber and Doordash, contracts with delivery service partners who assume the liability and the responsibility for legal costs. The agreements cover “all loss or damage to personal property or bodily harm including death.”)
While truck delivery companies have a responsibility during the outbreak to continue operations, they are potentially putting their drivers’ lives in danger through contracting COVID-19. Everyone should be responsible by ordering essentials only and doing our best to keep truck drivers and our neighborhoods safe, but if that driver or truck delivery company is responsible for a truck accident, you should consider legal help.
The Killino Firm’s delivery truck accident lawyers have been recognized from coast to coast for their expertise in truck accident cases and their aggressive pursuit of justice from all those who have caused victims’ truck crash injuries and deaths. Contact The Killino Firm for experienced and dedicated assistance with your trucking injury case.