If the current predictions are accurate, it looks like Santa’s sleigh is going to need a lot of help delivering packages this year. According to a recent article posted in USA Today, Federal Express estimates that it will ship over 300 million packages between Black Friday and Christmas Eve this year, which is a 12 percent increase over shipping totals from the same time last year. Cyber Monday and the following two Mondays in December will see the shipping and delivery business double as customers log on and take advantage of online sales events.
The ever growing popularity of online shopping and e-commerce are responsible for the overwhelming increases in demand for services from shipping giants like Federal Express and the United Parcel Service (UPS).
As the demand for services grows, demand for employees to assist with the seasonal rush grows as well. UPS will hire an estimated 95,000 seasonal employees this year while Federal Express is expected to hire more than 55,000 seasonal employees, which is 5,000 more than last year. Retail leaders such as Macy’s and Kohl’s have significantly increased their pool of temporary employees to match the demands placed on their fulfillment centers. Macy’s plans to hire over 80,000 seasonal workers, with Kohl’s and Walmart following closely behind, with a need to hire over 2,000 more employees than they did last year.
While employment opportunities increase, so does the risk for serious and fatal accidents. The trucking industry will see significant increases in job-related accident and injuries during the coming holiday season as drivers work overtime to deliver gifts and merchandise before Christmas Day. To reduce some of the shipping demands for purchases made online, some customers will take advantage of the store pick up option available on most websites. While this option decreases the delivery demands, merchandise still has to be packaged and shipped from fulfillment centers and warehouses.
Many retailers have jumped into the pool of profits generated by online sales by offering free shipping with purchases and free returns. Busy consumers are lured into the convenience of online shopping and will even pay a little extra for products to save time and reduce the stress that often accompany holiday shopping. This convenience comes with a price, though, as trucking companies work long hours with little time between shifts to keep up with the demands.
Large commercial delivery vehicles pose a particular risk to truck drivers and others who share the road with them. Their sheer size and the weight of their load can cause serious and fatal injuries in collisions with much smaller passenger cars, trucks, and vans. When truck accidents happen between commercial haulers and vehicles, it is most often the drivers and passengers of the cars and vans that suffer devastating injuries such as burns, broken bones, amputations, decapitations and fatal internal injuries. Long shifts, speeding, driver fatigue and even alcohol and drug consumption by truck drivers can lead to carelessness resulting in deadly accidents.
To reduce the risk of serious injury and death caused by trucking accidents, employers must pay close attention to driver schedules, how many consecutive days the driver has worked and take advantage of electronic logs to monitor driver behavior. Those drivers that are required to use electronic monitoring systems will be forced to adhere to safety regulations requiring limits on continuous driver hours and consecutive days worked. These safety precautions can significantly impact the amount of deadly accidents that occur over the holidays, helping to make the season bright for all that share the road.