Posted On October 5, 2021 Personal Injury
Have you ever wondered how dangerous your job as a delivery driver really is? Every year, disturbing reports of serious injuries and preventable tragedies involving delivery drivers surface in the news. The attorneys and accident safety advocates at our personal injury law firm have noticed an increase in the number of calls we have received from injured delivery drivers.
It all got us wondering—what does the data say about delivery driver injuries?
Compiling and putting into context the statistics surrounding injuries and fatalities in the delivery driver occupation wasn’t easy. We had to sort through many different research studies produced by more than 10 distinct entities—spanning non-profit organizations, for-profit corporations, and government bureaus and resources—produced over the past decade.
Here’s an in-a-nutshell overview of what our intensive deep dive into the data revealed about delivery driving risks.
This brief preview covers only a partial glimpse of the research data we dug up and analyzed. View the full report.
With online shopping becoming consistently more prevalent, many delivery drivers are expected to do more work than ever—and they’re sometimes rushed to do it all in even less time. There’s compelling evidence to suggest that this pressure, and the exploitation that sometimes accompanies it, can increase the risks even further. Companies that have faced repeated allegations and even lawsuits pertaining to overworking and otherwise exploiting their delivery drivers have reported injury rates that, researchers have found, are higher by a statistically significant amount.
A particular area of concern is the dangers faced by delivery drivers in the gig economy. Research data on these drivers is much less comprehensive than what exists for traditional employees in delivery driver and courier roles.
That’s worrying for several reasons, one of which is the sheer number of contract delivery drivers, many of whom work for app-based platforms. With independent contractors making up nearly 40 percent of the United States economy and the transportation and warehousing industry accounting for nearly one-quarter of this massive gig economy, it’s impossible to have an informed decision about delivery driver injury and fatality rates without including contract drivers.
Another concern is the potential for exploitation. Delivery drivers are part of the “unskilled” category of independent contractors, which means that they are less likely than skilled contractors to be high earners. They often don’t set their own rates, as skilled professional contractors typically do.
And, because they’re contractors and not employees, gig delivery drivers are not eligible for the kinds of protections—like overtime pay and worker’s compensation coverage—that full employees receive. These benefits are important for preventing the exploitation of employees and ensuring that injured workers get their medical care paid for and receive compensation for lost wages while they’re out of work.
Finally, looking at statistical data makes it easy to reduce real people’s pain to mere numbers. We wanted to compile the stories—and names—of delivery drivers who were injured or hurt in 2021, to help us all remember that behind every piece of data are real people.