DoorDash touts itself as a “technology company that connects people with the best of their neighborhoods.” When the leading delivery app burst onto the domestic scene and became a multibillion-dollar powerhouse, consumers suddenly found themselves with countless delivery options, and drivers found a way to profit from a “gig economy.”
However, their business model, if not their practices, puts drivers and anyone sharing the road with them at risk. Usually, texting while driving is frowned upon, if not a serious criminal infraction. According to a recent wrongful death lawsuit, DoorDash allegedly engages in that highly distracting form of communication while also incentivizing drivers to finish individual trips quickly.
A delivery results in death
The legal action against DoorDash makes serious allegations involving a July 2021 accident that resulted in the death of a 54-year-old woman and severe injuries to her daughter. Legal counsel for the plaintiffs’ claims that the business model is based on speed, not safety. Hired without an interview or vehicle inspection, the driver who caused the accident also had a history of moving violations and was driving in California with an out-of-state driver’s license months after a move.
Instead of mounting the phone – required by California law – the device was placed on the gearshift beside the driver seat. Too distracted to look at the road, the DoorDash contractor hit victims at full speed.
What may have played a role is a policy that all DoorDash drivers receive texts and notifications from the company. The app also provides them with real-time data that detects the vehicle moving. When it comes to safety, the focus is more on protection from potential criminal activity against a driver than possible distracted driving due to an unmounted and subsequently distracting cell phone.
Serious injuries and wrongful deaths caused by contractors go beyond harming a business’s reputation. Now valued at more than $30 billion, DoorDash can invest that money to keep their drivers and anyone sharing the road with them safe from serious injuries or death.