The United States Postal Service fleet may be getting a new look as they seek to replace the dated delivery trucks currently in use with bigger, more fuel-efficient, and—most importantly—safer models.
Right now, most of the USPS trucks on the road today are from as far back as 1987, and the costs to keep these gas-guzzling trucks going are reportedly astronomical. Maintenance costs are sky-high, as the trucks get only about nine miles per gallon of gas. Additionally, the older vehicles have none of the safety features found in cars manufactured today.
List of Improvements
More room is a definite “must” in the new trucks, according to the Postal Service. The models in use now were designed at a time when letters and paperwork were the main forms of mail; so the trucks could be smaller and shorter to accommodate their cargoes. But now, bulky packages and various sized boxes and bags make up a majority of the mail sent through the USPS.
In December of 2014 alone, the USPS delivered more than 520 million packages — an increase of over 18 percent from the year before. To accommodate this, the company is hoping their new vehicles will include shelves, sorting machines and taller storage areas so drivers can stand up and move around while looking for packages or boxes.
With taller trucks may come new requirements for training, as mail carriers may be driving larger vehicles. Any company that employs trucks as a main form of transportation is required to provide sufficient training for employees and comply with hiring and maintenance standards as necessary.
Economic vehicles can cut down on costs considerably for the USPS, which currently pays more than $500 million in gas each year. The USPS plans to look into vehicles with alternative motors, such as hybrids or electric cars.
Safety technologies that are considered standard for today’s cars are sorely lacking in the older postal service trucks. Features like anti-lock brakes, backup cameras, alerts and warning systems, airbags and anti-skid surfaces are on the list for the new trucks, and the USPS hopes to implement safer vehicles across the board. Additional features may include moving the tailpipe to the left of the vehicle so that the fumes are away from the driver.
Like all other companies that employ drivers, the USPS must comply with standard safety regulations. They must also keep up with maintenance requirements and service requests on their vehicles to ensure the trucks are safe, both for the employees driving them and others on the road around them.
Protecting Employees from Harm
Levine Law is a Denver law firm committed to helping you receive adequate compensation and fair treatment if you have been injured on the job. Your employer has a responsibility to ensure your safety by complying with federal and state regulations. If you believe you have a claim, contact Jordan Levine, a Denver workers’ compensation lawyer at Levine Law today for a free, no-strings consultation.