Did you know postal service workers aren’t allowed to make U-turns or left turns in their mail trucks because their right-hand drive (or right-sided steering) vehicles have such limited visibility? Think about that the next time your mail carrier drives by your house in one of those slow-moving boxy-looking vehicles with the eagle on the side.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) began using right-sided steering trucks for rural delivery routes to make it easier for mail carriers to reach roadside mailboxes and so carriers in the city can get out without stepping into traffic. Jeeps used to be the vehicle of choice, but now primarily the trucks are Grumman LLVs – or long-life vehicles made just for the postal service. Some have been on the roads for more than 25 years. In some rural areas across the country, carriers are allowed to use their own cars, which have been modified for right-sided steering.
The drivers need special training to earn the right-hand-drive certification. They do a combination of classroom work followed by less than a day of behind-the-wheel “controlled driving instruction” and a driving test – in all about 12 hours.
Today, USPS is moving toward newer trucks to take the place of an estimated 180,000 postal vehicles on the road, yet they are sticking with right-hand drive. Currently, American manufacturers are developing five prototypes that would incorporate new technology like backup cameras, monitors and communications devices. Some of them are now being tested.
Despite the fact, drivers are trained and high-tech bells and whistles are being installed in these vehicles, there are still inherent dangers when right-sided steering vehicles mingle with left-handed ones. Just think about the sight-line in oncoming traffic if you were sitting on the right side of your car. The limitations of these ride-hand-drive trucks holds serious potential for auto accidents – oftentimes a left-hand turn or a U-turn created by a driver with a right-sided vehicle can cause a collision and injure innocent people.
CaseyGerry has successfully represented plaintiffs in two cases against the U.S. Postal Service – one involving a motorcycle and one a bicycle. Our focus is to protect victims’ rights and support our clients during tough times. We understand the ins and outs of personal injury law and trucking accidents – as well as the complex rules of the road that govern drivers and companies in the trucking industry.