Delivery Trucks: Playing an Integral Part in Our Economy

If the pandemic taught this society anything, it was that the supply chain — and all of the goods being shipped by delivery trucks on a daily basis — are critical to the country’s infrastructure. However, there are will always be risks involved when products are being transported. Whether it’s a local delivery or a cross-country trek, it’s always possible that something will go awry with any given shipment. When unsecured cargo becomes part of the equation, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the risk for danger and damage tends to skyrocket.

Incidents with Unsecured Cargo

Unsecured cargo has played a major role in many delivery truck accidents over the years. Back in 2019 in Texas, there was a well-known incident involving a truck that happened to be transporting construction materials. Because of a load shift, which is one of the most common causes of delivery truck accidents, the extremely heavy construction equipment fell off the truck onto the highway. This caused a huge traffic crisis in addition to endangering other drivers on the road. Of course, there are many Texas truck accident laws that are specifically intended to prevent such accidents.

Don’t Mess with Texas…Truck Accident Laws

When it comes to Texas, two major organizations are charged with regulating trucking in the state. There’s the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) in addition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which helps to regulate trucking throughout the entire country. The Texas Transportation Code and FMCSA regulations specifically state that cargo must be loaded so that it will remain stable throughout its entire journey. Cargo also must be tied down or contained in a manner that will eliminate the risk of items falling off the vehicle. When transporting liquids, of course, spills are always a potential hazard.

What Are the Penalties for Violating the Law?

If a trucker does not follow the securement regulations, they run the risk of getting into an accident that will cause them to lose their license. Their insurance company will likely raise their premium significantly, and they may find themselves subject to fines issued by the state of Texas. If they are found liable for not securing cargo, they may be sued as well. However, an injured party may not stop there. Depending upon the severity of an accident, a victim’s lawyer may choose to pursue the company the trucker is transporting goods for.

Common Causes of Delivery Truck Accidents: Exhaustion

One of the leading causes of these accidents is driver fatigue. In 2014, this problem was highlighted when a Walmart trailer being driven by an exhausted driver collided with a limo bus carrying comedians Tracy Morgan, James McNair and others. As a result of the accident, Morgan was severely injured and McNair was killed. Later, it was discovered by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that the driver of the Walmart truck had been awake for 28 hours due to the pressures of his job. Obviously, this was higher than the federal regulations allow. First, truckers are not supposed to be on the road for more than 14 consecutive hours. After a 14-hour shift, they are required to clock out for at least 10 hours in a row. In the real world, however, sometimes drivers may bend the rules to deliver their cargo on time. Being tired may also influence a driver’s ability to effectively secure cargo. They may make poor decisions and neglect their responsibility to restrain items. With recent studies indicating that drowsy driving can be similar to drunk driving, it’s easy to see why fatigue is such a risk factor for truck drivers.

Another Common Cause of Delivery Truck Accidents: Cargo Crises

Not only can unsecured cargo fall off delivery trucks, but it can also cause the truck itself to become imbalanced. With all the twists and turns on American roads, it doesn’t take long for a truck with improperly secured products to effectively lose its balance. Once this occurs, the risk for rollovers and other accidents increases exponentially. Of course, this can also affect other vehicles and motorists on the road. It is in everyone’s best interest for truck driver to maintain control over their vehicles.

More Catalysts for Highway Emergencies

Delivery drivers are on a strict timetable, which is why many of them may ignore traffic laws and speed in order to make up time. Speeding sets them up for accidents — and more dangerous accidents at that. It may also cause cargo to become dislodged more easily. Also, it’s important to note that not all delivery drivers may receive the best training. In a rush to onboard employees, a company may neglect their duties to educate drivers on safety practices, such as methods to properly restrain cargo. Most of the other common causes of delivery truck accidents, however, are similar to those involving motorists who are driving passenger vehicles. While most normal car drivers will never have to worry about working 24 hours in a row or securing items in their vehicle, they also battle the following issues: distracted driving, violating traffic laws, bad weather, limited visibility, and mechanical breakdowns.

Have There Been Any UPS Truck Accidents or FedEx Truck Accidents?

With brick-and-mortar stores on the decline — and shopping online on the rise, it seems like there will continue to be more UPS and FedEx trucks on the road. FedEx alone delivered over six million packages a day in 2022. In the United States, there are an average of eight to nine accidents a day for these two companies. With thousands of such accidents occurring on an annual basis, other motorists, pedestrians and bystanders may also find themselves affected.

Delivery Van Accidents Happen

Unfortunately, there is no way to remove all of the risks in the world. Whenever a delivery van sets out on its daily route, there is the potential for accidents and hazards. Although companies like UPS and FedEx put regulations into place in order to avoid such incidents, human error — and other drivers — can intervene, wreaking havoc at times. Although there was talk of autonomous trucking fleets taking over, it would appear that the reality is far away. Teaching the autonmous trucks to drive safely has been a huge hurdle, so it would appear that — even with their flaws — humans will be in the driver’s seat of 18-wheelers and other delivery vans. Of course, even the best drivers must contend with the whims of Mother Nature — and freak accidents. In 2021, Steve Krueger — a UPS driver who had been with the company for three decades — was killed when a plane crashed into his delivery van due to pilot error.

When Is It Time to Call a Truck Accident Attorney?

As with any vehicular accident, it is best for victims to contact an attorney as soon as possible. If the incident involves one of the bigger delivery companies, then they will have an established protocol for dealing with such accidents. The companies may try to contact victims on their own, but it is important for people to remember that the shipping company’s main concern is always going to be its bottom line and how it can protect itself. Furthermore, all of the big shipping companies have in-house legal advisors whose job is to protect them from lawsuits arising from accidents. If victims want to be properly compensated for their injuries, it is crucial that they obtain legal counsel of their own.

Carefully Documenting the Incident

To help their truck accident lawyer get started on the right path immediately, victims of these accidents should carefully document all the details of their accident. If at all possible, this should include taking phone numbers of witnesses and photographing the wreckage. As a general rule, one cannot have too much information about an accident scene. If they are not incapacitated due to the incident, victims do themselves a service by getting down all of the details. For family members of people who have been gravely affected by truck accidents, it is also crucial to gather as much evidence as possible. Sometimes, it falls upon family to advocate for victims who cannot speak for themselves.