Amazon is increasingly becoming a byword for fast. More people expect next day delivery on Amazon Prime and the online retail giant is struggling to meet demand. New evidence suggests under-pressure Amazon delivery drivers are causing injuries and deaths.
Every year, fatigue causes trucking accidents on the highways of Virginia. The consequences of falling asleep behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer can be devastating for other road users as well as truckers. Amazon’s promises of next day deliveries are ratcheting up pressure on drivers.
This problem was highlighted in an Amazon trucker’s lawsuit filed in the Western District of Washington on January 15th. The driver accused Amazon and freight partner AAA of coercing him into violating the Federal Hours of Service rules for truckers.
Timothy Weakley claimed the demands caused severe fatigue, the News Tribune reported. He crashed into a concrete barrier on Interstate 26 in Tennessee last year and sustained injuries. The trucker is claiming $75,000 for medical expenses, loss of earnings and the loss of his tractor-trailer. His complaint claims he was hired by AAA as a leased operator. He worked in the Amazon division.
The lawsuit alleges Amazon and AAA coerced him into driving 20 or 30 hours at a time with only a couple of hours of rest. He claimed AAA edited his electronic logging devices to make it appear he was operating within the Department of Transportation Hours of Service regulations. Weakley claimed he suffered extreme fatigue, depression, and insomnia because of his lack of sleep in the days before he wrecked his truck.
Evidence Showing that Fatigued Amazon Delivery Drivers Cause Accidents
An investigation into Amazon-linked crashes by BuzzFeed News and ProPublica found at least 13 deaths in the United States since 2015 that were related to Amazon deliveries and these drivers injured thousands of others. The actual death toll is likely to be considerably higher.
The investigation called The Fast Mile uncovered the practices of Amazon’s wide network of contract delivery drivers. These truckers were hired to fulfill the company’s ambitious shipping promises. BuzzFeed News and ProPublica suggest Amazon overloads its contractors but doesn’t care.
Internal documents and interviews with company insiders found Amazon officials ignored or overlooked signs that the company was putting too much pressure on its fast-growing delivery network. This online retailer also failed to provide the level of training carried out by more established competitors like UPS.
In York County, Maine, a 10-month-old baby died when an Amazon delivery driver slammed into the back of a stopped SUV. The driver later told police he was running late and failed to see the SUV before the crash.
The investigation paints a picture of a giant organization operating at breakneck speed. In 2018, one manager increased the speed on the conveyor belts in a delivery station, injuring workers and prompting an internal investigation, the investigation found.
Amazon rushes new drivers through its hiring process. One of them suffered from night blindness and another acknowledged using marijuana for medical needs, company documents and interviews found.
Are Amazon Delivery Drivers Causing Injuries in Virginia?
Virginia has undoubtedly seen crashes caused by pressured Amazon delivery truck drivers. Amazon may only be part of a problem fueled by the gig economy. Today more people are using apps to request speedy service be it from Uber, Lyft, Postmates or Grubhub.
Speed of delivery or pick up is a major factor in drivers’ pay and performance ratings. Unfortunately, these drivers are given little formal training. The potential for increased speed, congestion, and distracted driving is higher than ever before.
We expect to see increasing numbers of crashes, injuries, and deaths caused by delivery drivers as Amazon attempts to meet its next day delivery targets. In 2019, Amazon promised to invest $800 million so as all Prime members living in the United States can get free overnight delivery.