Now that so many Americans are ordering products on the Internet instead of purchasing them at neighborhood stores, the need for box truck deliveries is skyrocketing. Of course, as these box truck drivers search for delivery addresses in crowded urban areas, serious and fatal accidents with pedestrians, cars and cyclists will likely keep increasing.
Before briefly reviewing statistics on New York truck accidents, here’s a closer look at specific types of delivery and box trucks – as well as the mistakes their drivers often make that cause so many serious accidents.
Box trucks usually weigh between 12,000 and 30,000 pounds and feature a large cargo area in the back that’s normally shaped like a square or rectangle. Many box trucks way as much as six tons – which explains why they often cause so much fatal damage upon hitting a typical passenger car weighing between one-and-a-half to two tons.
What special vehicle safety challenges do box truck and delivery or cargo van drivers face?
The threat of rollover accidents. These trucks usually have a higher center of gravity than most cars. Rollover accidents are far too common – especially when the truck or small moving van drivers makes turns too quickly;
Truck blind spots. New and inexperienced box truck drivers often fail to carefully look in all side mirrors – as well as their rearview mirrors – before changing lanes on streets and highways. Blind spots are especially bad on the sides and toward the rear of these vehicles;
Poor truck maintenance. These vehicles face heavy use and may not always be pulled out of circulation long enough to fully handle various repair needs. Thinning tires, worn-out brake pads, poorly adjusted or broken side mirrors and broken windshields all play a role in causing extra accidents.
What are the most common types of poor driving habits of box truck drivers?
Like far too many other negligent drivers, delivery truck accidents often occur due to one or more of the following careless behaviors.
Lack of driver safety courses and inexperience. Although many men and women drive box trucks professionally, they’re also lawfully driven by others without any special training. Although most people assume that their passenger driver experience will provide them with all the knowledge they’ll need to drive a box truck, crash statistics prove otherwise. Also, many first-time box truck drivers aren’t prepared to quickly find parking spaces in crowded areas — or to navigate narrow alleyways and driveways without causing accidents;
Distracted driving. Box truck drivers who text behind the wheel are deadly drivers. They kill far too many people every year. Likewise, truck drivers who eat while driving, check their cell phone messages and surf the Web cause too many accidents. Delivery drivers who try to make too many daily deliveries to make more money (or simply keep their jobs) often suffer fatigue that causes them to make poor driving decisions;
They fail to constantly monitor all nearby traffic signs and signals. When worried about steering a delivery van or box truck down narrow streets, drivers often forget to pay attention to all traffic signals;
Speeding. Sadly, far too many delivery drivers are forced to make rapid deliveries on assigned schedules – frequently tempting them to break the law;
Sudden stops. Hunting for obscure street addresses while making daily deliveries can be hard. And when a difficult address finally appears, many box truck drivers stop suddenly – forgetting that the small car (or motorcyclist) traveling behind them may not have adequate time to apply their brakes before an accident occurs;
Poorly secured cargo. It’s never safe for any box truck driver to head out on deliveries before making sure that all goods onboard have been properly secured. The chances of a deadly rollover accident increase when cargo isn’t fully secured – and loose packages can easily fall out of poorly secured truck doors;
Dangerous parking. Given their large blind spots, it can be very hard for drivers to carefully navigate crowded parking areas without hitting pedestrians or others.
Commonality of Delivery Truck Accidents
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workplace injuries involving harmful transportation incidents were among the most fatal events of 2016, causing between 25% to 40% of these accidents. In fact, workplace deaths tied to trucking accidents often exceed 700 a year. This is a demanding job that doesn’t pay very high wages – and often requires personally packing and delivering all the goods to purchasers’ doors.
A January 2018 Newsweek article stated that truck drivers making deliveries suffered more workplace fatalities in 2016 than any other profession.
During the last five years, there’s been an 11.2 percent increase in truck driver deaths. Some industry experts believe part of that increase is directly caused by the major increase in online shopping – and the resulting delivery needs. As Amazon and other major retail online shopping Web sites increase their sales, Americans are likely to see an increase in local truck accidents.
Since many box truck drivers delivering retail and other goods aren’t always employees of the companies that have hired them, complicated liability issues can arise when negotiating a settlement for a client’s injuries – or taking the case to trial.
In one year, over 10,000 truck accidents happen in New York State with nearly 5,000 injuries and 100 deaths. Delivery trucks or box trucks are frequently seen driving around the streets of New York City or stopping to make deliveries. Due to their large size, operators of delivery trucks may not have a clear view of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Truck drivers may not park safely when loading or unloading. They may double park too far from the curb creating a hazard in the roadway which requires other motorists to drive over a double yellow dividing line just to steer around the parked truck.