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Delivery drivers at greater risk of causing collisions

24 August 2018 - 12:31 by Paul Tissington

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The thousands of drivers throughout the UK who work as couriers for major sites that offer safe shopping online are putting other motorists at risk because of the nature of their employment.

A study conducted by a team from University College London revealed that 42 per cent of professional couriers who accept work via a mobile app, rather than being employed directly by the company in question, have suffered an impact while behind the wheel of their car or van.

Forty seven per cent said that they had regularly been required to breach speed limits on city streets in order to meet the tight schedules set by their paymasters.

These drivers form part of the so-called ‘gig economy’ which has risen to prominence in the past decade. In this situation, every job that a driver takes on is precious and when they are not on the move, they are not making money.

As demand for shopping online increases, more sites like Amazon are seeking help from third party contractors to make up the numbers and cope with the ebb and flow of orders throughout the year.

The flexibility of being able to issue jobs via an app, without having to add permanent members of staff to the team, is obviously attractive to these big companies. However, it leaves workers in a far less stable position and also creates a safety issue when it comes to the UK’s roads.

The Guardian reports that this study also found that the apps used to organise the driver’s workloads are also a problem in themselves, because they often distract the user when they should have their full attention on the road ahead.

Changes need to be made to the way these apps operate, giving drivers more leniency and allowing them to do their jobs without putting others at risk.