The world of commerce has shifted significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, you’re just as likely to be driving alongside a delivery driver as you are someone in a personal vehicle.
Sharing the road with delivery drivers who are often in a hurry is an added complication to an already dangerous activity.
Driving isn’t a right; it’s a privilege that many people take for granted. Distracted driving, speeding, and other preventable actions cause injury or death to hundreds of thousands of people every year.
And now we have to adjust our driving habits to account for drivers on a deadline with the pressure to rush to their next destination.
No one wants to be in a motor vehicle accident, but there’s no denying that increasing delivery drivers adds risk to everyone on the road. To add to the confusion, if you are in an accident with one of these drivers, the legalities aren’t straightforward.
How can you do your part to share the highway with people trying to earn their living as delivery persons? These tips will give you a different perspective and help you understand why sharing isn’t just for them, it’s for your safety, too.
1. What’s the Job Description of a Delivery Driver?
When you imagine the role of a delivery driver, what do you picture? Most of us only see the work done on the front line, picking up the products and driving them to their destination.
The actual behind-the-scenes work can be a lot more detailed. Depending on the job, delivery drivers complete other tasks, such as:
- Dealing with customer relationships before and after the sale
- Handling cash and credit transactions
- Reviewing and verifying invoices and products for accuracy and having mistakes corrected before the delivery is completed
- Loading and unloading deliveries which can be heavy and bulky
- Delivering in inclement weather conditions when people don’t want to leave their homes
- Servicing and maintaining the vehicle
- Keeping updated delivery logs and records
These essential actions are on top of the pressure of time deadlines, company promises, and driver scrutiny. A minor accident or speeding ticket can cost a driver their job and income.
2. How Drivers Earn a Living Wage
You’d think with all of that responsibility, delivery drivers would be paid well, and some are. However, many people in this role rely on having a lot of deliveries and receiving tips for each one.
For example, an Uber driver who “makes” $25 in passenger fares in one hour loses one-third of that, or about $9, straight to Uber for commissions. Subtract fuel costs and vehicle upkeep of $5, and the driver is down to about $9 for that hour. And if they don’t have any passengers the next hour, they’ve made $4.50 an hour, which they pay taxes on, too.
Not exactly a living wage.
That’s why drivers rely on tips to supplement their hourly pay, and they try to cram as many deliveries into one hour as possible.
The picture becomes clearer as to why so many delivery drivers try to optimize their routes and rush to their next destination.
3. What Happens if You’re in an Accident With a Delivery Person?
In an average crash between two drivers going about their day, the steps are cut and dried. You call the local law enforcement, exchange insurance information, and handle any injuries or damage from there.
But if you’re in a car accident with an Amazon driver or another delivery person, those steps aren’t as simple. There are various minor nuances that determine who is responsible for the damages.
The confusion occurs because most delivery drivers are classified as independent contractors. So, they’re working “for” the company, but they’re not an employee. The company isn’t responsible for the driver’s actions, including any vehicle and personal injury damage.
The trouble is that personal auto insurance companies are catching on to this trend. Many policies have exclusions specifically stating that collisions while on the job aren’t covered.
It gets complicated, usually requiring the help of an attorney to step in and find someone to pay for your injuries and damages.
Whether you agree with the massive increase in delivery drivers or not, there’s no getting around the fact that they’re there. Because of the added convenience they give and how many people don’t want to be exposed to the coronavirus, delivery roles aren’t going away.
Sharing the road with everyone, including those trying to do their jobs, is the best way to keep yourself and others safe.