It's proudly touted as a perk with major online sellers: free two-day shipping. Buy it today and it will be on your front step two days from now.
In the past, people didn't like online shopping because of the delay. Waiting seven to 10 days just felt too long. With two-day shipping, though, the game changed. Now, unless someone was considering driving to a brick and mortar store that very night, it's actually just as fast to buy something online.
But is it safe? What is that doing to America's highways, as companies try to keep up with this demand for incredibly fast shipping services?
One potential issue is that drivers may break regulations and drive more hours than they should. Money is king, after all, and economic pressure forces drivers and companies to make poor decisions.
"Companies are wanting things delivered at a certain time, consumers are wanting them overnight," said one expert. "And so it forces drivers to drive over hours because the companies permit that to happen."
This can lead to a lot of fatigued, tired drivers. The regulations about hours got put in place for a reason. Is a driver who spends 16 hours a day on the road, for two weeks in a row, really that safe of a driver? Or is that driver exhausted, with slow reaction times and higher odds of falling asleep behind the wheel?
What do we prioritize?
The key, some believe, is to figure out what we prioritize more as a society. How important is that fast shipping? Do we care about safety more? Plus, there are always risks with motor vehicles, and massive trucks provide some of the highest risks of all.
"There will always be risk on our roads, there's no doubt," said a vice president with the American Trucking Associations. "We have to decide as a society: how much risk do we accept?"
On some levels, it is clear that we want fast shipping, we want convenience and we are willing to take on some risk to get it. This does put drivers in danger and increases the amount of traffic on the roads.
At the same time, the reason for safety regulations is to force companies to provide that type of service in a safe manner. If they cannot do that and break the regulations, is it really the consumers who are to blame? Or do companies and drivers carry the blame for those accidents?
Online shopping isn't going anywhere, so the risks will continue. It's important for those who get seriously injured in these accidents to know what legal options they may have to seek out financial compensation.