American commerce depends in large part on a fleet of assorted vehicles to move goods between locations. On the roads, compact cargo vans operate alongside enormous double-trailer trucks transporting everything from flowers to furniture, pizza to lumber. The time between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve is particularly busy for the nation’s largest shippers: UPS, FedEx and USPS. This year, UPS is estimating holiday volumes will rise 10 percent to 630 million packages and that it will deliver double its daily average of 18 million packages on its expected peak day of December 22. FedEx estimates its holiday volumes will rise 12.4 percent to 317 million packages.
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, there will be more delivery vehicles on the road and more opportunities for traffic accidents.
Drivers under pressure to make deliveries guaranteed by a specific day or within a certain amount of time may make poor choices such as speeding, rolling through stop signs, not using directional lights, double parking, parking in a handicapped zone, backing up after inadvertently passing the destination and backing into traffic from blind driveways or parking lots. Being in a hurry may cause a driver to fail to properly secure cargo or even the vehicle’s doors, causing items to shift inside and contribute to a rollover or fall onto the road and become dangerous obstacles.
To keep up with demand, many companies seek extra help this time of year. Some of these workers may not be adequately trained in proper loading techniques or may not have enough experience operating a delivery truck, which can require a greater stopping distance than a car. Many delivery vehicles have no windows in the cargo area, making visibility an issue. Long hours behind the wheel in all types of weather may result in tired, distracted or impaired drivers. Just this past September, I-75 was closed
near the Scott-Fayette County line for more than six hours after a UPS driver hit a guardrail, overcorrected, and flipped the truck, spilling medical supplies and bottles of liquor across the road. The driver claimed he was distracted.
When a delivery driver gets into a wreck, there may be negligent and unsafe behavior on his or her part as well as that of the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck, the manufacturer of a truck part, or the party responsible for servicing the truck. The law may view some operators as employees driving a company vehicle while defining others as independent contractors using their own vehicles.
Other common legal issues concern whether or not the driver was on the clock at the time of the accident, whether the cargo itself was a factor, whether the vehicle had been properly maintained and whether the driver was adequately trained.
At the Pikeville, KY-based Johnson Law Firm
, we handle a wide range of car and truck wreck cases
. Since 1998, we have been the trusted advocates for countless traffic accident victims and their families throughout Kentucky. If you are trying to put your life back together after a wreck, have lost someone in a traffic crash, or have more questions about this topic, contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or filling out our free case evaluation form