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Food delivery firms warned after rise of courier casualties

By Chen Lidan (People's Daily Online)    15:11, August 28, 2017

Chinese food delivery companies were told to pay more attention to their couriers’ safety on the road as the number of courier-related traffic accidents and casualties is on the rise.

On August 26, Police in Shanghai urged eight companies to improve their drivers’ roadway safety awareness after at least 76 couriers were killed or injured while delivering food in the first half of year in Shanghai alone.

The speedy, rule-breaking couriers have become a serious problem in Shenzhen as well. According to police data, the food delivery drivers have been involved in over 30,000 traffic incidents this year so far, accounting for 10 percent of the total cases in the city.

The surge of reckless behavior among couriers is closely related with the growing demand for fast service.

The transaction volume of China’s online food delivery market is expected to reach over 200 billion RMB in 2017.

Data also shows that over 4 million drivers are registered as couriers for Baidu Waimai, Ele.me, and Meituan, the top three players in China’s booming online ordering and delivery business.

Roadway safety has to take a backseat at times, as couriers feel mounting pressure from the race of grasping more orders and delivering them timely. In April, Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily surveyed more than 1,000 couriers and found that three out of 20 responded that they had been involved in at least one traffic incident.

It is unfair to blame the couriers, and companies should do their part to keep them safe, local authorities argue. Last week, Shenzhen police announced a set of new rules designed specifically to punish couriers who break traffic rules, the first of its kind in China, in which companies share the liability.

A police investigation found that most companies have measures in place requiring couriers to follow traffic rules, but it is challenging for them to make sure the drivers they hire follow these rules and measures, Wang Liang, deputy head of Shanghai’s traffic police told the media.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Chen Lidan, Bianji)

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