Amazon is currently defending itself against a lawsuit that could determine whether it is responsible for the actions of its contract delivery drivers.
In March, Ans Rana was about to see his sister’s new home with her father and brother, who were driving a Tesla Model S, when they came across a disabled vehicle on Interstate 75 outside Atlanta. Frog’s brother slowed down almost to stop, but the Amazon delivery van behind them apparently didn’t notice. The van driver was going nearly 14 miles per hour over the speed limit, Rana’s lawyers say in a lawsuit. The van slammed into the rear of the Tesla with such force that it pushed the car into the left lane of the freeway where it was hit by a Toyota Corolla before hitting the middle barrier.
Rana sustained fatal injuries, including head trauma, and had to be placed on a ventilator. His spinal cord was also damaged and he was unable to regain the use of his legs or arms despite months of therapy and rehabilitation.
“I lost my legs, which I would not wish on my worst enemy,” Rana said Bloomberg.
In June, Rana sued Amazon and its delivery contractor, arguing that the e-commerce giant is responsible for the driver’s actions because of the software the company uses to track them. Amazon says it is not responsible because the driver did not work for it but, rather, for Harper Logistics LLC, a contractor who handles deliveries for the tech company.
However, Rana’s lawsuit claims that Amazon is liable because it has ultimate control over the delivery operation. Amazon closely monitors its drivers through the use of a smartphone app and cameras and sensors in the van in an effort to minimize delivery times and address safety concerns. The company keeps an eye on a number of actions that drivers take, including “backup monitoring, speed, braking, acceleration, cornering, seat belt use, phone calls, text messages, on-board cameras using the artificial intelligence to detect yawns and more, “Says the cause.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Amazon pushes contractors and drivers to prioritize speed over safety, with Amazon employees sending text messages “complaining that a particular driver is” behind the rabbit “and needs to be” rescued “to ensure that all packages on Amazon’s Routes are delivered in accordance with Amazon’s unrealistic and dangerous speed expectations, ”he says.
In addition to Amazon, Rana is suing contractor Harper Logistics, driver Bryan Williams, and Old Republic Insurance, the contractor’s insurance company. But it’s unlikely anyone other than Amazon will be able to cover Rana’s costs, especially since medical bills already exceed $ 2 million. Harper Logistics’ insurance policy only covers $ 1 million in liability, and the company doesn’t own the vans it operates, meaning that even if it goes bankrupt, it probably couldn’t cover the costs. Williams, who is 23, makes only $ 15 an hour. Amazon, on the other hand, made over $ 3 billion in profits in the last quarter.
“Committed to safety”
Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti told Bloomberg that the company is “committed to the safety of drivers and the communities we deliver to.” He added that Amazon works with delivery contractors to “set realistic expectations that do not put undue pressure on them or their delivery associates.” Boschetti said the number of accidents per mile for the first nine months of 2021 is down from the same period last year.
Delivery drivers typically work 10-hour shifts and deliver around 250 packages, depending on the route. They drive Amazon-branded vans, wear Amazon-branded uniforms, and must use Amazon’s Flex app, which according to the lawsuit “handles every conceivable aspect of package delivery.”
Amazon first entered the delivery market in 2018, and his heavily contracted approach almost immediately started running into problems. Drivers reportedly broke the laws in an attempt to satisfy what they called unreasonable odds. Amazon initially considered training its new fleet of drivers but discarded those plans to speed up the launch.