Delivery Truck Accidents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lever & Ecker, PLLC December 17, 2020 Personal injury

The delivery economy was accelerating year over year before 2020. Then the coronavirus pandemic occurred and the demand for deliveries exploded. With so many trucks on the streets and highways of New York every single day, accidents are bound to happen. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and upcoming holidays increasing online ordering and the demand for home deliveries, drivers are overworked and overwhelmed. With double the workload and shorter deadlines, not to mention snow and ice in the winter, delivery truck collisions are on the rise.

Why Are Delivery Truck Accidents Increasing?

With the looming threat of New York heading towards a second full shutdown and the holiday season upon us, a surge of online ordering for gifts, groceries, along with other essential products, are putting a ton of pressure on delivery companies such as Federal Express or UPS, postal carriers and parcel workers. Some are even going as far as cutting corners on safety to keep up with the high demand to deliver on time, such as:

  • Quick hiring of employees without required training or certification, including independent contractors
  • Failing to verify driving records or perform complete background checks for drivers
  • Failing to enforce rest and lunch breaks
  • Improper vehicle maintenance
  • Violations of traffic laws

Fewer qualified drivers are being chosen for the job simply due to the urgent need for drivers. The combination of delivery truck companies slacking on their hiring process and required vehicle maintenance, drivers who are stressed now more than ever, plus the winter weather, means potential disaster for other road users.

Are There More Delivery Trucks on the Road?

The rise of the COVID-19 has shifted the consumer behavior of countless Americans. Many people have altered behaviors from shopping at traditional brick and mortars to purchases via digital platforms. Purchases like groceries are now being delivered by couriers, resulting in many more delivery trucks on the road. This increase in delivery services has led to more hours for overworked drivers and higher amounts of trucks on the road. The shifting behaviors of individuals from picking up items, to those that are delivered to their place of residence, has drastically increased the demand for deliveries from essential workers.

Some of the largest retailers in the United States have seen sharp increases in year over year demand for household deliveries. Retailers including Instacart, Walmart and Amazon have reported large increases in the demand for household deliveries.

With such a large increase in home delivery, comes a large increase in the hours worked by delivery drivers and trucks on the road. The shifting behaviors of the American markets have led to more and more large delivery trucks with tired drivers on the road. While these essential and valued workers are performing their necessary job requirements, the additional congestion caused by these delivery trucks may block the normal path of automotive traffic and can cause more truck accidents.

Coronavirus and truck accidents

Are Truck Drivers Overworked from the Pandemic?

Based on the demand for at home deliveries, retailers and truck drivers have been forced to work more than in years past. While the pandemic has crippled thousands of small businesses across the country, large retailers, like Amazon, have thrived with the demand for at home deliveries.

According to Adam Diaz, the director of organizing at the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, “Amazon is raising the quotas. Off-peak season you had drivers delivering 120-150 packages a day. Now you’re looking at drivers being asked to deliver more than 300 packages in the same amount of time.”

While delivery truck drivers have been required to accommodate higher work loads, so too have large freight drivers.

Per data acquired by Samsara, trucking fleets are driving “faster than ever”.  Data analyzed from 3,676 commercial fleet customers confirm trucking fleets are busier than ever. Fleets across several industries are driving about 10% more than in 2019 with roughly 5% of more trucks on the road.

This increase in demand has led to a heavy increase in truck speeding. Speeding in excess of more than eleven miles per hour has risen 20% compared to data acquired before the pandemic began.

Who is Responsible for Delivery Truck Accident Injuries?

Hundreds of additional accident injuries are caused by unrealistic delivery truck driver expectations that result from reckless and/or drowsy driving. If you have been involved and injured in a delivery truck crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Determining who is liable for the accident can be complicated without the right delivery truck accident attorneys fighting for your legal rights. The delivery truck driver, their company, or a third party may be partially or fully responsible.

The Delivery Truck Driver

A claim can be filed against the individual driver if they are an independent contractor and not an employee of the company.

The Delivery Truck Company

If a delivery driver commits a reckless or negligent act while operating a company owned truck and/or performing a task that is within the scope of their employment, a claim can be filed against the company itself. New York State laws will determine if the driver was acting within the “scope of employment” when the accident occurred.

A Third Party

In some cases, another driver or a vehicle part/component manufacturer may be liable for an accident. Injured parties can then sue the third party alone, or in addition to the driver and/or company of the delivery truck.

Since liability for a delivery truck accident can be unclear, it is strongly recommended to consult with an attorney prior to speaking to any insurance companies. An experienced truck accident attorney understands how to best protect your legal rights, will have a deep understanding of the laws applicable to your case and can investigate the accident for you. Ensuring you have the evidence you need to hold the right parties accountable is critical.

We Can Help

When a delivery truck collides with another vehicle or a pedestrian for example, the injuries can be catastrophic. The highly skilled delivery truck accident attorneys at Lever & Ecker, PLLC fight for injured victims and can help you obtain the compensation you need. If you or someone you loved has suffered serious injuries in a delivery truck accident, call (877) 959-8025 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.

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