Why Being A Pizza Driver Is Surprisingly Dangerous

A man steps out into the cold, dark night and surveys the foreboding city streets. The streetlights are dim, a smell of trash and corruption permeates the air, and he knows that every second he's out here is a life-or-death situation. But our hero isn't afraid — no, he has a job to do, and what must be done will be done, no matter what the cost. As shadows dart into alleyways, the man slings his bag over his shoulder and adjusts his cap, beginning his bold, fearless descent into the heart of this gritty metropolis. Is he a heroic detective? Think again. This man is a pizza delivery driver, treading the line of life and death just as cheese treads the lines of crust. 

Pizza delivery people have had a long and storied history, with the first recorded "delivery" going back to 1889, when Italian royalty ordered a pizza to be made and brought to their palace (via Business Opportunities). The demand for pizza delivery arose in the 1960s, Top Slice Pizzeria tells us, as "car culture" and a discovered love of the Italian dish encouraged fast, swift, and affordable delivery. With folks spending $19.8 billion on pizza delivery in the United States in 2021 (via Statista), it seems delivery drivers are needed more than ever.

But just how dangerous is the life of a pizza delivery driver?

Is being a pizza delivery driver more dangerous than being a cop?

In 2019, a Reddit user on r/DoorDash claimed to have heard rumor than being a delivery driver was more dangerous than being a police officer. Another user agreed with this claim, citing data from USA Today that showcased the 25 most dangerous jobs in the United States as of 2016. While police officers had an on-the-job fatality rate of 14.6 annual deaths per 100,000 officers that year, delivery drivers in general had an on-the-job fatality rate of 24.7 annual deaths per 100,000 workers.

Is this to say that your average Domino's or Papa John's delivery driver in constant danger when they go out on the job? It depends. While pizza delivery drivers shouldn't have to worry about surviving a high-speed chase or delivering breadsticks under fire, they can and do fall victim to crime. In 2013, for example, a teenage delivery driver in Pittsburgh was attacked by a customer who'd given a bad credit card number (via WTAE). In 2022, a pizza delivery man was shot to death after trying to save a man being assaulted by a gang (via CBS News). In addition, as noted by USA Today, all delivery drivers face an increased risk of fatal traffic accidents. 

Whether or not you live in a high-crime area or on a busy road, the next time you get a pizza from a delivery person, maybe it wouldn't hurt to give them an extra tip.