DoorDash, Amazon Prime shipping, Instacart and other home-delivery services have made life vastly easier for a lot of people throughout the United States.
However, there’s a dark side to all that convenience. All those delivery drivers on the road can increase the odds that you or someone you love will end up in a serious car accident while you’re just blocks away from your home at the end of your day or even while just walking the dog at night. Why are the dangers so pronounced? Here are some of the possibilities:
Rushed delivery schedules
One of the primary factors contributing to the risk of car accidents is the pressure on drivers to make speedy deliveries. Companies like DoorDash often offer incentives to deliver within narrow windows, and Amazon has long been criticized for putting delivery times ahead of their drivers’ safety. This pressure can lead to rushed driving, increasing the likelihood of a wreck.
Rushed delivery schedules and long hours make for exhausted delivery drivers by the end of the day. Fatigue can impair a driver’s judgment, reaction times and overall ability to drive safely. That fatigue may only get worse once the holiday season starts or during bad weather, when people start ordering from home in earnest.
Another significant concern is distracted driving. Delivery drivers constantly have to check their smartphones for updates, navigation and communications from either the company or customers (or both). They also may have to take their attention off the road to navigate in unfamiliar territory and look for house numbers. Any distraction behind the wheel can leave a driver more prone to mistakes.
A lot of companies that do deliveries outsource their work to independent contractors, and the gig economy often attracts young drivers or drivers who may not have extensive experience on the road. Inexperienced drivers are more likely to make poor decisions in challenging driving conditions, increasing the risk of accidents.
People are unlikely to give up the luxury of rapid home deliveries for meals, groceries, medication and consumer goods any time soon, so that means recognizing the fact that you’re sharing the road with a lot of drivers who may be more focused on their destinations than the vehicles around them. Since accident claims involving delivery drivers can be complicated to navigate, seeking legal guidance is wise in the aftermath of a crash.