Lookout! Is That Inexperienced Delivery Driver in a Poorly Maintained Truck?

By Neil Kalra

With the growth-spurt of retail home delivery due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, there is also an explosion of commercial vehicles on the road: the most obvious being more UPS, FedEx and Amazon delivery trucks and vans. This alone makes more wrecks inevitable: from fender-benders to catastrophes. Just a few days ago – late June, 2020 – a little boy died and three other passengers were seriously injured when an Amazon delivery truck struck their car on the New Jersey Turnpike within sight of Manhattan.

Innocent drivers and their passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike are all at even greater peril of being seriously hurt in commercial truck struck-by accidents. This is due to more delivery vehicles with even less experienced people behind the wheel. The overwhelming demand for drivers comes during a time when seasoned ones were already hard to come by. And since jobs are scarce, and delivery services are looking for warm bodies to jump in the cab, we’re uneasy.

An intensive study several years ago by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) underscores the dangers of less experienced truck drivers to those of us who share the road (and anyone else near it). The results did not surprise. Truck drivers with less than five years driving experience have a much greater chance of causing a crash: 41 percent higher than a driver with five-plus year’s experience. It’s worse today.

Since there is an even greater shortage of qualified drivers nationwide than there was before COVID-19; as far all delivery firms are concerned, almost anybody who walks in the door looking for a delivery job can get one. We get that it’s necessary for many Americans to keep ordering food and other goods which are delivered to their homes. But the logic is simple: more drivers with less experience is not good. And the number of truck accidents continues to sharply climb.

With so many truck and van drivers rushing around to meet employer-imposed deadlines, it is much more dangerous for us to be on the road than this time last year. Now, you can rarely travel more than a block down any street without seeing someone’s marked (or unmarked) delivery truck zipping by or double-parked making a delivery. And that brings to mind another danger.

Maintaining All Those Trucks Is Vital to Safety

One of the most common breakdowns arising from failure to maintain a commercial truck is brake failure. When brakes go, devastating crashes often occur. Other common issues associated with failure to maintain a commercial truck include:

  • Steering column problems

  • Tire blowouts

  • Oil, fuel line, or some other sudden motor/drive train, or fuel line failure

  • Trailer hitch failures,

  • Unsecured cargo dangers

  • Faulty lights

“All motor carriers must maintain complete service records for every delivery vehicle they control for 30 consecutive days” under U.S. 49 CFR § 396.3(b). They (carriers) must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment. All parts and accessories must be in safe and proper operating condition at all times; even the florist store owner’s personal van if it’s used for delivery the mandated 30 consecutive days.

But with larger delivery operations that outsource service and maintenance work, the contractor which services the company’s vehicles is also liable if mechanical failure led to a serious accident. Let’s also not forget the driver who is supposed to inspect (and remove) a delivery vehicle if it is unsafe to operate.

Unfortunately, as many of us soon discover, the pressures of economics during hard times often lead to trucking companies (or maintenance contractors, or drivers) failing to uphold their responsibilities to keep you safe. So before the only protection you have to prevent being hit by a delivery vehicle with an inexperienced driver, who might be driving in a truck that needed its brakes fixed two weeks ago, is to be the best defensive driver you can!

Whether you were, or a family member was, injured due by a distracted drover – private citizen or behind the wheel of a commercial delivery vehicle; you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you deserve.

The attorneys at Kalra Law Firm are dedicated to getting all accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call our office now to speak with one of our experienced distracted driving accident lawyers to represent you in your case. We offer a free initial consultation and will not charge unless we win your case. If you have any questions about your distracted driving accident, call our New York City and Queens Construction accident lawyers today at (718) 897-2211. www.unionlawyer.com

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