If you have noted the rise in the number of cardboard boxes broken down and piled along the streets and roads on recycling day, you’re not alone. It’s a common sight, as is the constant coming and going of delivery vehicles stopping to drop off yet more boxes. And if you continued to hit the road during the pandemic, no doubt you shared the road with behemoth18 wheelers shuttling back and forth between warehouses and distribution centers. Add both these occurrences to the post- COVID-19 changes that are here to stay.
Yes, to stay because even as vaccination rates rose and life returned to a semblance of normalcy, home delivery is one thing people who have become accustomed to ordering from catalogs or internet sites, are loath to give up. And so each time a purchaser clicks send on his or her screen, he initiates a line of events in a warehouse. Someone will scurry through the stacks of storage shelves, to pick the item, someone else will pack it, and send it to the loading dock, where it will be loaded on a tractor-trailer, and eventually, find its way to a box-type truck or van for its final drive through a residential neighborhood. But then, if you happened to be in a business at the other end of the line, scrambling to keep up with incoming orders, none of this comes as a surprise to you. Not only has it become part and parcel (pardon the pun) of your daily life, it requires you to hire new road warriors to keep your business going.
Virtually no sector of commerce has escaped the demand for delivery. Take something as basic as food. Fresh Direct and supermarket trucks now share the road with gig workers who work delivering order-in meals nightly. This is because, in addition to the pizza parlors and Chinese take-out shops that have long relied on delivery drivers, the rise in the number of food-delivery apps populating the internet has added to the frenzy. Websites like Grubhub, Door Dash, and Postmates now enable customers to enjoy customarily ordered dishes and in some cases cocktails, in their own dining rooms.
The end result for you as a restaurant owner is that it doesn’t matter whether you are a holdout who relies on good old-fashioned phone calls for delivery orders or one who has embraced these newfangled apps, you have had to increase the number of drivers you employ. But no matter what your livelihood involves, hopefully, you took, and continue to take, the time to perform a critical task, namely to check driving record of each new employee before adding him or her to your delivery pool. There has always been a need to do so, but now with the proliferation of delivery cars, vans, and box trucks packed for front door delivery, checking driving records has become a crucial responsibility, for with this unprecedented growth comes a corresponding increase in the number of accidents. This has led the CDC to declare work-related accidents have become the major cause of deaths and injuries, and that all workers whether they drive light or heavy vehicle face an added risk of being involved in a crash.
An anomaly exists as well. Although, as the National Safety Council (NSC) has noted, although the number of people working from home reduced the number of vehicles on the road in 2020, the rate of motor vehicle-related deaths was 8% higher than that of 2019. In addition, 4.8 million people were injured on the road, costing society an estimated $474 billion, Now while a minor accident caused by one of your drivers may not cost you that much since your auto policy most likely includes liability coverage, it could result in expensive lawsuits should your driver be at fault in an accident that results in vehicle or property damages or medical expenses exceeding policy limits. This is known as vicarious liability, and it applies to you whether the employee involved is a delivery driver, salesman, installer, repairman, or even a volunteer’
Now while you can never say never as far as vehicle accidents are involved, checking the driving record of all applicants before taking on any new hires will go a long way in reducing your chances. Checking driving records will allow you to review potential hirees’ driving histories, so you can rule out reckless drivers, as well as those who have been involved in an excessive number of accidents, or racked up moving violations for infractions like speeding or running red lights.
So again, while checking driving records will not eradicate the possibility of an accident, nor take the place of vehicle insurance, it can give you peace of mind in that you have done your due diligence.