The death of a delivery driver in Houston, Texas highlights the ongoing battle over heat safety for delivery drivers, who are increasingly exposed to extreme temperatures during their shifts. The 22-year-old delivery driver, identified only by her first name of Mary, died in the middle of her shift after becoming overheated in a parking garage. Investigators believe that Mary was exposed to temperatures ranging between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit that day.
The National Partnership for Justice and Family Rights (NPJFR) has responded to Mary’s death with a call to action, noting that delivery drivers are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness due to their physically demanding work, limited access to rest and water breaks, and lack of labor protections. The organization has called on state and federal lawmakers to take steps to protect delivery drivers, citing the rise in heat-related deaths among drivers due to the changing climate.
NPJFR has also urged delivery companies to prioritize the health and safety of delivery drivers by providing them with water, rest, and shade in high temperatures and by providing ample paid breaks throughout a shift. The organization has also called on cities to enact policies that prioritize the safety of delivery drivers, such as providing better access to rest and shade in hot areas, establishing minimum safety standards, and instituting penalties for companies that fail to prioritize driver safety.