A man standing by his parked car on Morningside Drive in Wilmington, North Carolina (NC), lost his life after being struck by a pizza delivery driver who had crossed into the path on oncoming traffic. The fatal pedestrian accident occurred around 6 pm on May 5, 2016. In addition to crossing the center line of the street, the at-fault driver appears to have been speeding and may have been impaired by pharmaceutical drugs.
Driver distraction set the stage for this deadly crash. When speaking with police following the crash in which she also collided head on with a moving van, the at-fault driver admitted that she drifted out of her lane when she reached to check her smartphone. Law enforcement officials also charged her with exceeding the posted speed limit and possessing a scheduled medication without a prescription.
Delivery drivers are at particular risk for becoming distracted behind the wheel and for putting others at risk by going too fast. The nature of their job requires them to take calls and check directions at nearly all times. Their customers and employers' expectations for timeliness also put them under great pressure to keep tight schedules despite almost any obstacle or complication. Acknowledging those facts, however, does not absolve delivery drivers of their obligations to remain focused on the road and obey traffic laws.
All commercial drivers must also remain sober while they are on the clock. Driving under the influence of drugs creates as much danger as driving under the influence of alcohol. News reports on this fatal Wilmington crash do not name the pharmaceutical product found with the delivery driver but do note that it is a Schedule IV pharmaceutical. Controlled substances in that category include sleep drugs like Ambien (zolpidem), antianxiety drug like Xanax (alprazolam) and antiseizure/panic attack drugs like Klonopin (clonazepam). Each lessens mental focus, slows reflexes and increases drowsiness.