Are Delivery Services Causing More Car Accidents?

delivery car accidents

Retail sales have been trending from consumers shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online in recent years.  Consumers have become accustomed to online shopping and like the convenience of having items delivered to their homes with a few clicks on a computer.   The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to an increase in that trend.  As a result, demand for home delivery of groceries, pet food, and fresh cooked meals has never been higher. This demand seems to have caused a surge in car accidents.

Owing to the pandemic, the available pool of delivery drivers has been stretched thin.  Drivers have caught the virus and missed work or quit for fear of contracting it at the same time as demand has peaked.  These pressures have contributed to factors that increase the risk of car accidents such as the following:

  • Overworked drivers. Too few drivers to meet demand means too much driving for some.
  • Driver negligence. Rushing to deliver on time, drivers may ignore traffic signals, violate right of ways, speed, and change lanes without signaling.
  • Poorly maintained vehicles. Keeping up with demand may result in delayed maintenance and repairs to tires, brakes, and other important parts.
  • Inadequate hiring and training practices. Employers desperate to hire may ease their usual due diligence such as reviewing driving records and contacting references leading to the hiring of less qualified drivers.

Motor Carrier Rules are Designed to Enhance Safety

Commercial truck drivers are specially qualified to drive large commercial trucks called motor carriers.  The drivers must be specially trained and can lose the commercial driving endorsement on their license if they are found to be driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Commercial drivers must also comply with hours of service rules adopted by the federal government to limit the amount of time drivers can be on the road. The rules serve to reduce the risk of truck drivers being sleepy and/or tired while driving and the accidents that can result.

The pandemic has increased the need to quickly transport life-saving medical products where most needed.  To meet the need, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has had to use emergency powers to ease restrictions on the hours of service restrictions on commercial truck drivers. One example is Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002.  It states that those providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 public health emergency are granted emergency relief from 49 CFR 395.3, maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles.

Who is Responsible if I am Hit by a Driver for Hire?

Under the law, drivers of commercial trucks are considered employees of trucking companies.  In these cases, the financial burden resulting from an accident caused by the truck driver is born by the employer.  However, the driver inside the truck may not be an employee of the delivery company.  Some delivery companies outsource drivers from other companies.

If the driver works for a company such as Uber and driving their own vehicle, the responsible party will vary.  Although Uber provides some insurance protection for its drivers, other companies do not. It is important for anyone in an accident with a driver for hire to be represented by an experienced car accident lawyer.  They will help determine the actual party at interest and how you may seek compensation.

Media Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Advocate for Car Accident Victims

After a car accident, it is important to understand your rights and how to protect them to have the best chance at receiving all the compensation to which you are entitled.  Medical bills and lost wages can cost a great deal.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, reach out to the Media car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello. We will thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and fight to secure the compensation you deserve. Learn more at a free consultation by filling out an online registration form or calling 610-892-4940. Our office is in Media, Pennsylvania. We represent clients in Media, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, West Chester, and throughout Pennsylvania.