New Food Delivery Services and Distracted Driving: Higher Accident Rates In Florida?
Uber Eats, GrubHub, and DoorDash are just a few of the more popular food delivery services people use regularly. This online food delivery industry is so big, it is generating more than $26 million a year. However, with this rising popularity, we also see a rise in distracted driving cases in Florida as a result.
You may have heard about the case in Tampa Bay in 2021. An Uber Eats driver allegedly slammed into the back of a motorcycle in Tampa. The accident killed the 19-year-old passenger of the bike and permanently injured her brother. The Uber Eats driver was cited for failure to yield but was tossed out in court when the traffic officer failed to appear.
No criminal charges have been filed in this case, but the victims' family have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the motorist. They stated that Uber, its subsidiary, and the driver are all liable for their daughter's death, specifically, the Uber Eats driver who was allegedly on the phone and distracted.
Factors Involved in Food Delivery Accidents
As you can see, food delivery drivers may be a bit more distracted than other motorists and more prone to car accidents. They actually have one of the highest occupational fatality rates in the US. Here are a few factors involved in food delivery accidents:
Lack of Experience
Most food delivery drivers are younger and are often between the ages of 18 and 25. Younger drivers often have less driving experience than older drivers, making them more prone to making driving mistakes like speeding and distracted driving.
Food delivery drivers also feel immense pressure because they are expected to deliver food quickly and accurately. Some food delivery services will penalize their drivers if they are given poor customer ratings. So, drivers tend to go as fast as they can so they can get a better tip and better ratings from the customers. However, this is also an incentive to speed and can result in reckless driving.
More Time Spent Driving
Delivery drivers also spend more of their time driving than the average person. So, the more time you spend on the roadways, the more you risk being involved in an auto accident. Delivery drivers often find themselves in unfamiliar areas and on roads they may not know. They are sometimes driving in the dark and in heavy fog or rain. All of this increases their odds of an accident.
Most delivery drivers also have added connectivity because they may use their phones and become distracted while driving. Many drivers use navigation features to find pickup and delivery sites, and some are in constant communication with the customer while en route.
Are Food Delivery Apps in Florida Liable?
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to auto accidents. Motorists in Florida have personal injury protection coverage (PIP) that provides coverage regardless of who is actually at fault for the auto accident. However, this coverage only goes up to $10,000. So, if someone is seriously injured in an accident or dies, there may not be enough coverage.
If the auto accident involved someone driving for one of these food delivery services, the injured party might be eligible to collect more in damages than a normal Florida auto accident; however, this depends on the accident and the facts.
Most of these food delivery services carry their own commercial liability insurance policy for their drivers. The coverage they provide depends on whether the driver was on an active assignment. If the service driver does not carry their own insurance, even though it is required by Florida law, then the service's insurance will not cover the accident.
Since these auto accidents can become complicated, it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney familiar with cases like this. They will examine your legal options against the driver and the delivery service and help you determine your next steps.