With more people doing their holiday shopping on the internet, more gifts will be delivered by the U.S. Post Office, FedEx, and UPS. Though they don’t have the same capacity as Santa’s operation, these commercial operations have fleets of trucks and thousands of employees on the roads. Though we love the convenience of online shopping, with all those trucks making all those deliveries there will be more accidents, some of them involving serious injuries.
Internet shopping is expected to reach $93 billion in sales this year, according to CBS. Also this year, FedEx expects to deliver 317 million packages during the holiday season. Last year the post office projected it would handle 12.7 billion pieces of mail and packages during the holidays, according to CNN. UPS projected it would deliver 585 million packages in December 2014.
There is a lot of pressure on delivery-truck drivers to get packages delivered on time. In the past, delivery companies came under criticism for not keeping up with volume, and they needed to hire thousands of last-minute, temporary workers to pick up the slack. These temporary workers may not be the best trained and may work multiple jobs, which could increase fatigue and make them dangerous drivers.
There are several reasons why other drivers need to be wary of delivery trucks.
- Time pressure
Delivery may be guaranteed for a certain time and date. Drivers may drive aggressively and over the speed limit to reach their goals. Trucks may take shortcuts through alleys or parking lots. These trucks will be on the roads in all kinds of winter weather, traveling on wet, icy, and snow-covered roads to get packages to their destination.
- Creative parking
Drivers may double park, use no-parking or handicap spaces, or stop on the wrong side of the street to make as many deliveries as they can, as quickly as they can. Traffic may be blocked, and other drivers may drive around the trucks without fully seeing what vehicles are coming the other way.
- Bad drivers
Though most delivery drivers are professionals and deal daily with bad traffic, the holidays may bring out the worst in them, especially if they’re inexperienced or poorly trained. Given the high stress, many drivers may not cope well, driving aggressively and/or using drugs or alcohol. In addition, they may be distracted by calls from dispatchers.
- Improperly loaded trucks
Delivery trucks may be loaded to their roofs with packages. With this extra weight, or if the packages shift, it may be difficult to control the truck and drive it safely. Packages falling out of trucks can also be a safety hazard.
- Time pressure
Under the legal doctrine of “respondeat superior,” an employer is legally liable for the actions of an employee acting in the scope of his or her job. If a package delivery service driver acts negligently while doing his or her job and causes an accident, that delivery service may be held liable.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a delivery truck, contact our office, (973) 358-6134. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, property damage, and economic losses.