A big increase in workload — coupled with other pressures such as an expectation to work faster — could lead to driver safety concerns ranging from stress behind the wheel to the temptation to speed to get the job done.  -  Photo:  pexels.com/Tima Miroshnichenko

A big increase in workload — coupled with other pressures such as an expectation to work faster — could lead to driver safety concerns ranging from stress behind the wheel to the temptation to speed to get the job done.

Photo: pexels.com/Tima Miroshnichenko

A recent report explores how delivery drivers in various countries view their jobs and finds that 71% of drivers report a big increase in the number of deliveries their company has to make compared to five years ago.

Volume of deliveries is a significant issue for U.S. drivers. When drivers were asked whether deliveries “had increased a lot” at their company, the U.S. came in sixth out of 11 countries, with 33% saying that was indeed the case, according to the report from Scandit.

A big increase in workload — coupled with other pressures such as an expectation to work faster — could potentially lead to driver safety concerns ranging from stress behind the wheel to the temptation to speed in order to get the job done.

Consider, for example, that 67% of global respondents said they now have to complete deliveries to different types of drop-off points, 66% are now expected to work faster, and the same amount (66%) reported an increase in new tasks like identity verification at the door. As it concerns U.S. delivery drivers specifically, approximately 62% said they now have to complete deliveries to different types of drop-off points — indicating another pressure that fleet operators need to keep in mind as it could impact safety.

Driver shortages are another key challenge for the industry as e-commerce continues its long-term rise. On average across fields, people aged 24-34 change jobs once every 2.4 years. But according to the Scandit research, drivers are more likely to move. The research notes a substantial upheaval and expansion in delivery driver recruitment over the last two years. This is both in terms of new drivers coming in, as well as existing drivers switching roles.

And the problem is worse in the U.S. While 50% of global respondents said staff shortages have increased during the last five years, in the U.S., 55% noted staff shortages. Here again, there are potential safety implications as fleet operators must onboard new drivers quickly — but still ensure that they get proper training, take all correct safety precautions, and abide by the rules of the road.

The report covers three types of delivery companies — courier companies, retailers, and postal services, and ultimately paints a picture of a complex role for today’s drivers with key pressures such as higher delivery volumes, more drop-off and pickup-up points, an expectation to work faster, and rapid turnover. With that as a backdrop, the safety implications for delivery drivers are many — from drowsy driving for those who are overworked, to possible violations like speeding, to high anxiety, which may even lead to road rage.

Fleet operators need to reinforce best practices with their delivery drivers. It’s also a good idea to remind them of some stark facts. For example, drowsy driving killed some 633 people in 2020 alone — so urge your busy delivery drivers to get seven to eight hours sleep nightly. And remind them to avoid rushing to meet demanding delivery schedules. Sadly, some 11,258 people lost their lives in speeding-related collisions in 2020 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Speeding is never justified. No delivery is worth someone dying.

Scandit, along with research company Opinium, randomly sampled and spoke to over 1,200 drivers from 11 countries for its report. The countries involved in the study include Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.A.

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