OUR TOP 5 TIPS
The pandemic has changed our lives in every way. How we shop and get our food has also dramatically changed. During shelter in place and lock down, many of us took our shopping online to buy just about everything. One look at the traffic in our busy suburbs, shows us that direct to home commerce is booming. Courier trucks, white panel vans and unmarked cars race along our streets making frequent stops at every other door. Now that we've become hooked on front door delivery, it's unlikely we'll ever give it up. But there is a price to pay for that convenience. Road safety has taken a back seat to our pandemic preps and needs.
Crashes between delivery drivers and motorists are happening in our neighbourhoods. Pedestrians also face an increased risk of being hit. Our suburbs and neighbourhoods are no longer the quiet, safe spaces we used to enjoy just a year ago.
What Are the Top 5 Tips Everyone Needs to Know About Couriers?
1. Speed: Couriers are on the clock and seconds count as they race to meet volume targets and delivery deadlines. Our posted low speed limit suburban streets were never designed for delivery trucks and vans moving at speed. Speed impacts everything from line of sight, turns in safety, lane departure, lane crowding, backing up and mirror checks as well as the ability of pedestrians, children and dog walkers to cross in safety near street corners;
2. Distracted Driving: Smartphones ride shotgun. From GPS address searches behind the wheel to proof of delivery pics and uploads to demanding customers, it's no wonder eyes are not on the road. Throw in calls from dispatch, rerouting to recover parcels left at the wrong door and unfamiliar streets, and we've got a crash just waiting to happen. The upside of connectivity is telematics. Some trucks have onboard tracking that records speed, braking, location and engine performance. Onboard dash cams that record both inside and out of the truck may also be in play. It is critical for plaintiffs' lawyers to secure that data asap as it may be persuasive evidence of the courier driver's negligence;
3. Inexperienced Drivers: The pandemic forced courier companies to source drivers wherever they could find them. For every safety-conscious, experienced and courteous delivery driver, there are ten young, green, impatient and inexperienced ones hustling for a buck. Courier drivers are essential workers and deserve our thanks and gratitude. But the very young and inexperienced drivers give all a bad name. What's worse, those inexperienced drivers will give some innocent motorists and pedestrians a trip to the ER at a time when no one needs the pain, risk and stress;
4. Bad Maintenance: Delivery trucks and vans suffer severe wear and tear because of the miles those drivers and vehicles log. Worn brake pads, bald tires, blown lights and cracked windshields cause crashes. Some larger courier companies regularly maintain their fleet and have a complete and comprehensive maintenance log for every vehicle. But not all independent delivery contractors do their due diligence and comply with the regs when demanding cyber companies need orders delivered yesterday; and
5. Who's the Boss? As well as the at fault driver behind the wheel, there may be at least 2 or 3 additional defendants in a commercial vehicle crash including the courier company, an additional independent courier contractor subbed to handle a local route or overflow and the mechanics or vehicle maintenance company. It is important to quickly discover the limits of all possible insurance policies and note any restrictions. Throw in gig workers - freelance delivery drivers usually ferrying take out and meals to go in their own privately owned car or an Uber - and you have a dog's breakfast of insurance snarls. Some gig workers either don't know, understand or want to understand that additional and often expensive insurance top ups are needed to cover their car when they drive for profit. Their broker may also have failed to quote this critical coverage. Insurance coverage is always critical and a need to know for any seriously injured plaintiff. Because at the end of the day, the insurance company standing behind the driver, company or broker is the real defendant, the real boss, and pays any significant settlement or court award.
What's Your Take Away?
A courier crash is not your usual car crash involving two privately insured car drivers.
A courier crash is different.
And the pandemic is no excuse for negligent driving.
If you drove safe, or were walking carefully in your own neighbourhood, and were seriously injured by a courier driver, call an experienced injury lawyer who really understands that your crash is different than a car on car collision.
Call an experienced injury lawyer to discuss your claims.
Find out where you stand.
Have You Been Hit By a Delivery Driver?