Delivery drivers today are under more pressure to perform than ever before. When the pandemic hit, next-day and expedited delivery services became the norm. By 2022, it was almost unheard of for customers to wait more than three days to receive a product within two years. Sadly, the workers behind the scenes have struggled ever since, and delivery driver injuries have increased starkly.
Types of Delivery Driver Injuries
Typically, when we think of delivery driver accidents, the first thought is crash-related injuries. While these do happen, several other occupational injuries affect delivery drivers aside from traffic accidents.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Delivering packages presents many hazards that can cause slip and fall accidents. On the truck alone, drivers scale in and out of open doors, up ladders, through towers of parcels, and lift heavy boxes on platforms. Aside from that, delivery drivers encounter premise hazards: stairs, stairwells, fences, curbs, pets, decks, garbage cans, shrubbery– a never-ending list.
Delivery drivers work long shifts, lifting and delivering packages weighing hundreds of pounds depending on the products. Overexertion injuries can frequently occur when rushing and performing repetitive movements. Examples of overexertion injuries include soft tissue damage, back injuries, joint pain, and nerve damage.
Struck By Injuries
Have you ever seen a delivery truck from the back? Delivery companies stock these vehicles to the brim with boxes and packages. Any of these can tumble down when drivers go to pull a delivery. Other features of delivery vehicles posing a risk of striking injuries include metal ramps, doors, and gates.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Sadly, nearly 20 percent of all work-related motor vehicle accident fatalities involve delivery drivers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 5,550 delivery drivers were killed on the job between 2016 and 2019. With the boom in home deliveries occurring between 2020 to 2022, experts predict these numbers will increase tremendously.
Delivery Driver Risk Factors Leading to Accidents on the Road While Working
Working as a delivery driver is not what it used to be. Drivers in 2022 are overworked and stretched to the max. These grueling schedules expose them to several dangerous risk factors that can lead to accidents.
Compounding expectations to meet next-day and expedited delivery standards have led drivers to work extra-long and overnight shifts with minimal breaks. This work schedule leads drivers to become fatigued quickly and increases their risks for accidents. Fatigued drivers are more prone to behaviors including swerving, sudden accelerations and braking, and falling asleep behind the wheel.
Delivery drivers face more distractions than most motorists on the road. Aside from the typical distractions (phones, other vehicles, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists), delivery drivers worry about their parcels' safety, meeting delivery deadlines, parking restrictions, and meeting deadlines. Additionally, delivery drivers are also heavily dependent on their GPSs, following their routes carefully to fulfill each order. These high levels of distractions leave more opportunities for drivers to miss hazards that can lead to tragic accidents.
Drivers adhering to expedited shipping schedules are held to strict standards by their customers and employers. These stressors can lead drivers to feel the need to speed from job to job. In 2019, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A) reported that speeding led to 9,478 fatalities on U.S. roads. It's one of the leading causes of fatal accidents every year and can be particularly dangerous for trucks and larger vehicles.
During the pandemic, the boom in home deliveries resulted in a dire need to fill driving positions quickly, and inexperienced drivers were hired in bulk. The N.H.T.S.A. reports that inexperience is one of the most prevalent risk factors leading to motor vehicle accidents. In combination with trucks and vans weighing tens of thousands of pounds loaded, inexperience behind the wheel can result in catastrophic crashes on the road.
Jacobs & Wallace Delivery Driver Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love is a delivery driver and has been hurt on the job, you need an experienced law firm to represent you. Jacobs & Wallace, PLLC, has decades of experience fighting for the rights of Connecticut’s injured workers. Please contact us today for a FREE case evaluation: 203-332-7700.