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The Hidden Cost of Holidays


With Cyber Monday more popular than ever, and many retailers offering free shipping as an extra incentive for online shopping, Americans are expected to ship approximately one billion packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. That means a lot of additional FedEx and UPS trucks on the road; UPS expects to deliver nearly 700 million gifts this holiday season while FedEx is on target to deliver a little over 300 million.

As the number of packages and therefore delivery trucks on the road rises, so too does the number of accidents. Delivery trucks are involved in more accidents during the holiday season than any other time of the year. In fact, Thanksgiving Day is one of the statistically most dangerous days for truck accidents, with an average of over 400 fatalities occurring each year.


More packages and more deliveries mean more driving time for delivery truck drivers, and that can mean tired drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limited the number of working hours allowed during a 7 day period to 72 hours in 2011. But during the crunch of the holiday season when consumers demand (and some retailers guarantee—although fewer this year) on-time delivery, drivers are pressured to work over the legal limit. Monitoring and enforcement of the FMCSA work limit is difficult.

Another cause of the increase in accidents during the holiday season is the sheer number of vehicles on the roads; not only are there more delivery trucks, but there are more passenger cars as well. People traveling to visit family and friends, people shopping, and people vacationing are sharing the space with the thousands of delivery trucks deployed to get those packages to their destinations on time. What’s more, many of the people traveling and vacationing may be unfamiliar with the roads they are on and prone to sudden stops and starts, quick turns with no signals, and other risky driving behaviors that can lead to accidents. Shoppers may be rushing to finish their holiday lists and not paying the attention they should to traffic signals, pedestrian crossings, and other vehicles.

Although it may be an example of correlation rather than causation, the fact that UPS and FedEx hire thousands more seasonal employees at the same time that there is a dramatic increase in accidents involving delivery trucks does beg the question as to whether these seasonal employees receive adequate training and vetting. This year UPS hired approximately 95,000 seasonal workers, and FedEx hired 55,000 seasonal employees. With those kind of numbers, it is easy to imagine that the training process for seasonal workers may not be as rigorous as for regular employees.

With potential driver fatigue, crowded roadways, risky driving behaviors, and possibly under-prepared truck drivers all put together, the outcome can be dangerous and even deadly.


If you have been injured in an accident with a delivery truck, contact Dave Thomas at the Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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