This year, during the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people are ordering groceries and other supplies much more than usual. And it’s no secret that companies like Amazon have benefited exponentially from our inability to get out and shop as we normally would.
But while the delivery of groceries and supplies is incredibly convenient as we do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, it also comes with extra risk.
Delivery vehicles are now out in full force, and will continue to be as COVID-19 numbers spike in a third wave and the winter holidays approach.
And there’s no doubt that as Cyber Monday (the online version of Black Friday) approaches. Many of us will do our holiday shopping online. Leading to even more delivery trucks on Georgia’s already packed interstate system.
As the number of delivery vehicles increases on our roadways, so too does the added risk of delivery vehicle crashes and pedestrian accidents involving delivery vehicles.
In this blog post, we’ll explain:
Delivery safety is an important topic. If, as you read this, you recognize that you have been a victim of any delivery truck negligence or unsafe driving, please give us a call!
In an explosive article co-published in late last year, ProPublica, a non-profit independent journalism platform that investigates abuses of power, revealed that Amazon has actually prioritized speed over safety in terms of building a delivery network.
This piece of investigative journalism revealed that last year (2019), Amazon promised that one of its goals for the upcoming year was to improve delivery safety after a rash of accidents involving Amazon delivery drivers.
As part of this promise, drivers would be required to take a five-day training class that “would put new drivers through on road assessments overseen by an outside organization with four decades of experience in driver training” (ProPublica).
The problem is that this defensive driver training never actually came to be.
During its busy holiday season last year, Amazon put aside driver safety training and focused on order fulfillment. The result was an emphasis on speed and profit over public safety, and the results were detrimental to both civilian drivers and pedestrians.
The results of Amazon’s refusal to prioritize delivery safety have been terrifying. There have been over 60 accidents since June 2015 involving Amazon delivery drivers and their contractors who specifically deliver Amazon packages.
These accidents have resulted in many serious injuries and more than 10 deaths (New York Times).
The New York Times notes that these statistics are likely incredibly low due to the fact that many people do not sue after accidents, and because of the sheer amount of contractors that Amazon uses it can be difficult to ascertain who is at fault.
What we do know is that the rising statistics prove that more safety training is necessary now and that no one should have to worry about their own safety or the safety of their precious children around delivery vehicles.
Amazon maintains tight legal contracts with the companies it hires to deliver packages, and when these contract drivers are involved in accidents, Amazon argues that the fault is with them and not the push for speed and timely delivery that Amazon pushes so hard.
When Amazon is called to account for delivery safety, the mega-company argues that “it bears no legal responsibility for the human toll” of its delivery system (New York Times).
This is ultimately very telling of the company’s ethos: they value the speed and precision of package delivery over the safety of their drivers and the general public. Ultimately, they want your money, but they don’t want to worry about the bottleneck in delivery that might come if they took the time to educate their drivers.
The state of Georgia is unfortunately very familiar with the impact that delivery trucks and eighteen-wheelers have on our traffic congestion.
If you live here, you understand that our already-congested roadways make for an even higher rate of eighteen-wheeler fatalities and multi-car accidents.
Our clogged roadways aren’t the only place where delivery van and truck accidents can occur, however. Local Georgia suburban families are no stranger to the dangers of delivery vehicles within their own neighborhoods.
Georgia isn’t the only place to experience the turmoil of Amazon truck crashes. As we’ll explain in this section, Houston, TX has also been a victim of a harrowing five-car pile up involving an Amazon delivery vehicle, and there are many more examples of these kinds of accidents both in Georgia and across the country.
Consider this harrowing news report from Covington, Georgia.
A family came home to find part of the wall near the garage damaged. Security camera footage showed that an Amazon driver got out of the van to deliver a package with the van still running. He actually got back into the van after the accident and drove away.
What if the family had been home or children had been playing in the driveway? This kind of negligence should have no place in the delivery process.
In Houston, Texas, a man was forced to jump off a bridge to avoid an oncoming semi-truck during a five-vehicle crash in April of 2020 (abc11.com).
One of the five vehicles involved in the crash was an Amazon Prime delivery truck.
The accident began with one car pulled over with a flat tire, but quickly escalated as the Amazon delivery truck slammed into the vehicles that were parked to attend to the flat tire, running over and killing two women who had gotten out of their vehicles.
The man who was forced to jump from the bridge to avoid the delivery van was seriously injured.
At the height of the pandemic, Amazon has hired an additional 175,000 positions, including delivery driving positions, to help distribute the products that we have come to rely on ordering from the safety of our own homes.
While this is technically great for our flailing U.S. economy, it does not contribute to driver safety on our roadways.
If you have been hired by Amazon or any other delivery service (including food delivery). There are certain safety considerations you should be aware of in order to keep yourself and others safe.
These tips are not all inclusive or meant to be a thoroughly exhaustive list of how to keep yourself and others safe as you deliver, however. Please ask your employer for safety training and a comprehensive list of safe driving regulations.
When you’re on a tight deadline, it might be tempting to drive over the speed limit or ignore street signs or lights.
Aggressive driving also includes tailgating, cutting off another driver, changing lanes without using a blinker, or passing a vehicle on the wrong side.
We understand that tempers can flare in traffic and that tight holiday delivery deadlines can be incredibly stressful. But the easiest way to keep yourself and others safe is to keep your cool and avoid aggressive driving at all costs.
Driving while tired is an incredibly reckless act that can put not only yourself, but also others, in danger.
Delivery drivers often work irregular and long hours. If you find yourself having any of the signs of driving fatigue, it’s time to get off the road to avoid an accident:
Many delivery drivers operate primarily in neighborhoods, delivering groceries, goods, and other necessities. It is imperative that drivers watch out for the people who live and work in these areas.
If you are assigned to a neighborhood route, make sure to request training that specifically deals with pedestrians, cyclists, and children.
It is your responsibility to do everything possible to avoid an accident involving anyone in these groups. You can do so by incorporating the following into your safe driving practices:
For more information about safe driving practices for delivery drivers, we recommend this exceptionally thorough resource from the Texas Department of Insurance.
While drivers should be as educated as possible, and companies like Amazon should make driver safety education a top priority. It’s also important to understand how you can keep yourself and the people you love safe around delivery vehicles.
As more delivery vehicles are on the roads this holiday season, looking out for yourself around delivery vehicles is increasingly crucial.
Here are some tips for both drivers and pedestrians to help keep you safe around delivery vehicles:
One of the quickest ways to avoid an accident involving a delivery vehicle is for YOU to stay as aware as possible. Put down the phone (it can wait!) and focus specifically on the road (or sidewalk) in front of you.
For more information about staying safe as a pedestrian, consider this article on how to avoid a pedestrian accident. We are committed to pedestrian safety!
Yes, this goes for non-delivery drivers, too! The holidays are SO stressful, but taking out that stress in traffic does no one any good.
We recommend playing your favorite relaxing music while driving, or even taking time to drive in silence so that you can pay attention to your surroundings.
Avoiding aggressive driving gives everyone, yourself included, the chance to stay safe!
We all understand the importance of teaching our kids to look both ways before crossing the street.
Teaching children to be aware around delivery vehicles should also be a part of our general road safety education for children.
Children playing in neighborhoods should be taught to stay safely on lawns and out of driveways and the street. Making sudden movements (as children do) should also be avoided around delivery vehicles. children should never play games near the road or driveways.
It’s also a good idea to teach children to make eye contact with delivery drivers so that the drivers know they are there and can watch out for them.
At Marks Law Group, we serve the greater Atlanta metro area, and we also live and work here, just like you! As we head into the busy holiday season. We are concerned for your safety around Amazon Prime Delivery Vans--and any other delivery vehicle.
Keep your wits about you and make sure to teach children how to behave around delivery vehicles. But if something happens, please know that we exist to fight for you.
We have the experience and know-how to navigate the confusing waters of delivery vehicle accidents.
Don’t assume that because you’ve been injured by an Amazon driver and, you’ll never be able to hold Amazon. Or any other delivery company--accountable for what you have been through. That’s just not true!
We actually need people who have been injured by delivery vehicles to stand up to these companies. So that more strict safety training and regulations can be imposed on delivery drivers, making deliveries safer for everyone.
If you have been the victim of a negligent delivery driver, you matter. We will walk you through the process of fighting for your legal rights and financial restitution. Give Marks Law Group a call today!