What happens when delivery drivers get in a rush and cause a motor vehicle accident? Who is liable for these types of fleet vehicle collisions? Fleet vehicle drivers can drive 20,000 miles or more in a year which increases the odds that they will have an injury- or fatality-causing motor vehicle accident.
Fleet vehicle collisions are common and deadly. In 2016, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that delivery workers and truck operators had the highest rate of workplace injuries in the country. Of the 5,190 work-related fatalities that year, 918 occurred among sales workers and delivery drivers. The risks are increasing and the data shows that from 2003-2008, 5,568 sales and truck drivers died in the United States; of these, 856, or 31% were classified as "light truck or delivery service drivers." Nationwide, "delivery driver" is routinely ranked as one of the ten most dangerous jobs in the United States due to the high number of accidents and the inherent dangers of the job.
Causes of Fleet Vehicle Accidents
There are many factors that can cause a delivery driver to cause a crash. These include distracted driving, drunk driving, and drugged driving. Poor maintenance and lack of driver training/experience in the safe operation of the delivery vehicle can also cause an accident. Speeding, reckless driving, and distracted driving are common causes of motor vehicle accidents involving fleet vehicles. These are often caused by drivers attempting to maintain tight delivery schedules.
Finally, delivery drivers are prone to exhaustion due to the significant amount of driving they are required to perform. Employers who violate applicable hours of service limitations negligently place their employees and the general public at risk of serious injury or death.
Training and Technology Reduce Accident Risk
Two factors can significantly reduce accident risk among commercial delivery drivers. The first is investment in adequate training programs. Drivers who are trained in defensive driving techniques are less likely to be involved in motor vehicle collisions. Technology such as virtual reality coupled with collision mitigation systems has shown considerable promise when utilized by companies such as UPS.
As of 2017, more than 60% of the company's vehicles were equipped with collision mitigation systems. Further, 9 of the UPS training centers in the US provided students with training using VR headsets that allowed student drivers to practice their driving skills in real-world environments. Within the first year of application, the company reduced their accident frequency by 1%. It's a small step in a positive direction that other delivery service providers can follow. Nationwide, the annual accident rate for fleet vehicle operators was 20% in 2018 which indicates that the industry as a whole has considerable room for improvement.
Delivery Driver Liability
Employers such as FedEx, UPS, restaurants, grocery stores, etc., may be liable if a delivery driver is classified as an employee. However, many delivery drivers, such as those for Amazon, are classified as independent contractors. Determining financial liability requires thorough consideration of the facts and may fall upon the driver, their employer, or their insurance provider.
We always give free consultations and we answer the phone 24/7 and on weekends and holidays. Our attorneys represent clients pursuing compensation following fleet vehicle collisions in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Whether the accident occurred in Wichita, Garden City, El Dorado, Kingman, or elsewhere in the states, you can call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or on our local line at 316-684-4400. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. In Western Kansas you can call 620-THE-BULL.