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Are package delivery drivers a real threat?

As people shop online more and more often, package delivery drivers are out in force bringing those goods to their doorsteps. While this can cut back on overall traffic levels -- you don't have 10 people driving to the store if they all ordered their products online and one driver is dropping them off -- don't assume that means other risks don't increase.

After all, delivery drivers have tight schedules. They're under a lot of stress. Many companies advertise incredibly fast shipping as they try to prove it's better to shop online than to go to the store, and drivers have to get those packages there on time.

Are those delivery drivers a real threat to others on the roads?

Hundreds of incidents

They certainly can be. For instance, one report looked at the statistics for FedEx Freight drivers, and it found that they crashed 730 times in just two years. While that's a drop in the bucket compared to the total amount of car accidents per year, remember that these drivers have large, heavy vehicles that are much taller than passenger cars. That raises the risks significantly for anyone they hit.

The same study also looked at unsafe driving citations for the same time period, and it found that FedEx Freight drivers were given 679 of them. That disregard for safety could lead to even more accidents, some of which may have been avoided when authorities stepped in before the crash. But that doesn't mean the roads are safe.

One division

Even more concerning is that FedEx Freight should not be confused with FedEx as a whole. It's just one division. Overall, the huge company has over 35,000 workers and 20,000 trucks.

Plus, FexEx itself is just one carrier. Others include the United Parcel Service (UPS), DHL Worldwide Express and the United States Postal Service. They all add thousands upon thousands of delivery trucks to America's road systems every day, and their drivers face similar production goals and the stress of getting packages to their destinations on time.

All risks

This isn't to attack delivery drivers or make it seem like they're the only threat. Reports show that around 40,000 people died in car accidents in 2016, the last year for which data is complete. The vast majority of them were not involved in accidents with delivery trucks. In fact, truck drivers get extensive safety training, far beyond what everyday drivers get. For instance, UPS has seen declining crash rates and gone entire calendar years without a driver passing away.

However, it's simply important for drivers to know all of the potential risks that they face. Those who are injured need to know what options they have in the wake of a crash.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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