Since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, people have turned to home delivery to avoid too many trips to the store. As a result, more UPS, FedEx, and Amazon trucks and vans have been out delivering than ever before. Add to that the normal increase in holiday deliveries at the end of the year, and you may have found that it was hard to drive across town without facing a speeding, swerving box truck. If you were injured in a crash with a delivery vehicle, you can hold the driver and his employer responsible for your damages.
Small Trucks Are Unregulated and Untracked
It’s impossible to know for certain just how dangerous commercial box trucks and vans are because they are not regulated by the federal government like semi-trucks are, and crash statistics are not tracked. In the summer of 2020, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) advisory committee met to discuss the problem and admitted that they don’t know enough about driver competency, safety measures, and crash data involving commercial vehicles that weigh less than 10,000. The committee produced a list of “action items,” but it remains to be seen if this sector of the trucking industry will ever be regulated for safety. In the meantime, motorists must be careful around delivery vans and must hold them accountable when they cause a serious accident.
How Delivery Truck Drivers Endanger Other Motorists
When you order something from Amazon or another online retailer, you have come to expect quick delivery. Unfortunately, providing this kind of service ultimately means pushing employees to the limit, including the delivery truck driver on the final leg of the order. The following factors often play a part in delivery vehicle accidents:
- Pressure to deliver on time. Delivery drivers are under extreme pressure to complete their routes in a certain amount of time, even when they have double the number of deliveries to make. This pressure pushes drivers to speed, multi-task, and perform reckless maneuvers in neighborhoods and downtown districts. These actions increase the likelihood that they will cause an accident.
- Untrained drivers. New drivers are in high demand, and temporary drivers are often added during the holidays. Given that there are no FMCSA regulations controlling the hiring of these drivers, it’s no wonder that many are inexperienced and untrained on the vehicle they are driving. This lack of skill and experience is a major cause of box truck crashes.
- Unfamiliar routes. Many delivery drivers have no idea where they are going. As they try to use a navigation system and negotiate new neighborhoods, they are likely to take their eyes off the road and could hit a pedestrian or car slowing down to turn into a driveway.
- Illegal parking. In downtown areas and urban neighborhoods, delivery trucks often park illegally, blocking the road for other drivers. As these drivers try to go around the parked truck, they are in danger of being in a head-on collision.
- Unstable vehicles. Box trucks and tall delivery vans cannot handle high-speed turns, especially with an inexperienced driver. In extreme situations, these vehicles can tip over and crash. In addition, loads that are not properly secured can shift and throw off the vehicle’s balance.
Even if the driver is under pressure from their employer, they can be held accountable when one of these actions leads to an accident in which another driver or passenger is injured or killed. If you or a loved one was hit by a delivery truck driver during the busy holiday season, it’s not too late to call a lawyer.
You Need a Commercial Truck Accident Attorney on Your Side
Despite the differences between a commercial semi-truck and a UPS-style box truck, the same legal principles apply in a personal injury lawsuit. That is why you need to consult with a truck accident attorney before accepting any kind of offer from the driver’s insurer or employer. There is a lot at stake in these kinds of accidents, and our truck accident legal team is ready to take on their corporate lawyers and teams of insurance adjusters. Contact our Framingham office for a free consultation to discuss your case and download our free book, Massachusetts Truck Accidents: The Guide to Handling Your Commercial Truck Injury Case.