Mary J. Smith


Who says the holiday spirit ever goes out of season? It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas year-round on many doorsteps as packages from online retailers pile up, and postal carriers share an element of Santa’s stress: timely delivery. In 2021, the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) delivered roughly 128.9 billion pieces of mail across 233,171 mail routes. Demand for e-goods is at an all-time high, and the pressure to manage the demand might lead to a prioritization of success over safety. Unlike their urban counterparts, rural USPS offices are often unequipped to handle high volumes of delivery due to limited operating budgets and other financial strains. In an attempt to meet rising demand, rural postal carriers modify their personal vehicles for the job. These carriers often remove the driver’s seat and use a rigged pulley to convert a left-hand drive vehicle. Such modifications aim to reduce route times and eliminate difficulties accessing mailboxes. However, these changes are not without consequences: unapproved modifications to right or lefthanded vehicles simplify delivery, but they may do so at the expense of public safety for both rural carriers and other travelers.



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