Gift-giving could be life-threatening this year.
E-commerce firms like Radial and analysts from Adobe Digital Insights agree that online shopping will spike in 2021, despite more people shopping in malls than last year. The effect could be massive; last year, the New York Times reported there were 3 billion packages delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2020, nearly 800 million more than 2019.
That’s 7.2 million more packages per day than the system could handle. It’s going to be even worse this year.
Massive logistical slowdowns and broken supply chains have already created record shortages. Surveys show that people aren’t blaming retailers, but FedEx, UPS, USPS, and other delivery services. Those delivery companies are facing additional pressure from Amazon, which has deployed enough in-house delivery vehicles to deliver over two-thirds of its own orders.
Now, the holiday delivery rush is bearing down on all of them. In 2019, holiday deliveries between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day accounted for 15% of the deliveries for the entire year. With at least 30% more deliveries projected for this holiday season, delivery companies have two options:
- Hire more drivers
- Work their existing drivers overtime
Either option is a serious risk to public safety.
The Danger Posed by a Mad Hiring Rush
Amazon is already on a hiring spree to accommodate its expanded fleet of delivery drivers. UPS, FedEx, and USPS are facing a backlog of deliveries that is about to get worse, so they’ll certainly need extra manpower.
Hiring that many people at once might lead to inadequate training or supervision. The accident rate for recently hired drivers appears to be higher than among experienced drivers as it is.
USPS is the only public delivery service provider, so it has a more thorough record of collisions involving its trucks. In 2019, they reported that their vehicles were in 29,000 accidents, and nearly half of them involved recent hires. While there aren’t complete records for UPS accidents or FedEx accidents, there’s no reason to believe they’re much safer—Amazon certainly isn’t. A rapid hiring spree could result in thousands of catastrophic delivery truck crashes.
Overworking Existing Drivers Isn’t the Answer Either
Arnold & Itkin has long reported on the dangers of tired truck drivers. Researchers have found that being awake for 18 hours had a similar effect on driving performance as having a BAL of .05%, and truckers have been forced to drive for much longer than that to make deliveries on time. It’s not a rare problem either—experts estimate that at least 1 in 5 vehicle collisions are caused by drowsiness.
Long hours behind the wheel, combined with company pressure to make on-time deliveries, have caused untold harm.
With driving hazards heightening during holidays and an increased likelihood of drunk driving accidents in winter, it’s clear that driving during peak delivery season is more dangerous than ever. Delivery companies share responsibility for making it safer, no matter what.
Read our articles if you want to brush up on how to expertly control your truck in bad weather or how to prevent backover accidents, but if you want to protect your future after getting hurt in an accident, call us directly. We’ll explain your options and talk about what we can do to make things right.