Road Safety: Delivery People Should Not Be the Ones Paying

A man transports a passenger on a motorcycle loaded with goods along a street in Phnom Penh on June 20, 2023. Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP

Among the recommendations made by the Ministry of Interior to improve road safety, one targets delivery people on motorcycles who handle products purchased online and among whom many drive in a reckless way that presents a danger for others on the road. The ministry is telling traffic police officers to fine them when they commit traffic infractions.

This is true that many of them, obsessed by the obligation to make their deliveries as quickly as possible to satisfy their customers—sellers and buyers—of the websites employing them, really turn insane on their motorcycles.

Granted, they are responsible for their actions and, as such, must legally answer personally for the offenses they commit.

But is it fair as a society to financially penalize today’s slaves of the online trade going at full throttle on their motorcycles, forced to put themselves in danger and to put others in danger to make as many deliveries as possible in order to earn a decent living?

Because it is the whole online economy—product suppliers, platforms—that benefits from the risks taken by these self-employed delivery people whose speed is the first evaluation criteria.

Many view these young people as somewhat headstrong and having fun in the traffic while working.

Even if they don’t realize this, those delivery people are key players of an economic sector that shamelessly exploits them.

It is the responsibility of the authorities to not only take measures regarding the consequences of this economic model regarding road safety by using repressive measures.

They should also encourage, not to say compel, these platforms to wage, social and training practices, among other things regarding road traffic regulations, which would make it possible to solve the problems at the source.

As for us, customers of these platforms and online businesses, especially restaurants, please, let’s learn patience and let’s not encourage delivery people to always go faster.

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