The dilemma of takeout deliverymen

Updated 2017-08-30 09:55:20 China Daily

Seventy-six traffic accidents in Shanghai in the first half of this year involved takeout deliverymen, some of whom were killed, according to Shanghai police. Southern Metropolis Daily commented on Tuesday:

Apart from issuing a report on traffic accidents involving takeout deliverymen, the Shanghai police met with the representatives of leading food delivery companies such as Eleme and Meituan, and urged them to provide safety training for their delivery staff to keep in check their reckless driving.

A report on China's food delivery service last year said that by June 2016 about 150 million takeout orders had been placed online across the country. The number is likely to cross 200 million this year, with the number of food deliverymen increasing to about 4 million.

Takeout deliverymen, especially in big cities, are pone to ignoring traffic rules. They are often seen driving on the wrong side of the road, running a red light or using cellphones while driving, and thus compromising road safety particularly during rush hours.

But since many food delivery platforms are known to impose penalties as high as 2,000 yuan (8) on a deliveryman who fails to deliver an order within a given time, yet go easy on him for violating traffic rules, deliverymen are often tempted to drive exceedingly fast to deliver their orders in time and evade extra penalties for being late.

To some extent, the food deliverymen are encouraged to break certain traffic rules to fulfill their task and police officers lack the means to deal with them because their vehicles are registered under the name of their employers. Perhaps a new management system that makes deliverymen responsible for their electronic bikes could help improve the situation, even though it would impose extra costs on the food delivery companies.

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