Anyone who has kept a close eye on the online retailer Amazon over the years has seen where the company has experienced significant growth across a short time frame. Key to the online retailer’s tremendous growth has been its hiring of third-party drivers and trucking companies to transport their goods to consumers. While that business model has certainly fed consumers’ demands for quicker delivery times, the approach has come at a high cost for those forced to share the road with these drivers operating on behalf of Amazon.
A recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reveals how an alarming number of Amazon’s regular contractors have unsafe driving records. In fact, WSJ investigators determined that delivery drivers and fleet companies hired by Amazon are twice as likely to have dangerous driving records as truckers or trucking companies hired by competitors with similar operations.
Some of the more notable incidents cited in the recent WSJ report that highlight how unsafe Amazon’s third-party contractors can be include instances in which:
- The operator from a third-party trucking company hired by Amazon to transport merchandise between two of its distribution centers was involved in two accidents during their trip—the last of which ended up with the trucker departing their lane on an interstate and traveling into oncoming traffic on the other side of the median, killing the passenger car occupant in a head-on crash
- Law enforcement officers found what they later identified to be a crack pipe in the cab of an 18-wheeler under the driver’s seat while investigating an incident in which a trucker navigated their tractor-trailer into a ditch while carrying Amazon cargo in his trailer
- A tractor-trailer operator lost control of his truck, causing a fatal accident while carrying Amazon freight two months after his employer was cited for the truck in question having faulty brakes requiring immediate repair
The incidents described above are only a sampling of many different examples of cases in which Amazon-hired third-party contractors have caused catastrophic trucking accidents.
Additional WSJ analysis of crash records shows that in the nearly two-and-a-half year time span between February 2020 and August 2022, there were at least 1,300 delivery drivers or trucking companies contracted to work for Amazon cited as having driving record scores that fell below what the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) usually deems as safe (not warranting their intervention). Other WSJ research reveals that 75 fatalities have occurred while a driver hired directly or as a contractor by Amazon was at the wheel of a vehicle.
As for Amazon’s response to the investigator’s findings? They contend that their network of drivers is safe. Amazon points out that their per vehicle mile fatality rates are 7% less than what was the industry average in 2020. Even still, the online retailer’s freight safety director contends it’s Amazon’s goal to achieve “zero accidents, zero fatalities.”
The U.S. has long been facing a trucker shortage crisis that has only worsened in the past few years. That shortage of qualified tractor-trailer operators has led various companies, like Amazon, to be less selective about who they hire to transport their goods. While it isn’t okay, this explains why the truckers we now share the road with may be operating their tractor-trailers with less-than-stellar driving records, insufficient experience, fatigued, high on drugs, or while intoxicated here in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California.
Frost Law Firm, PC is a Los Angeles-area personal injury law firm that has earned a strong reputation for its unwavering advocacy on behalf of truck accident victims. Our clients select us because it’s evident we care and won’t back down until we secure justice for them by seeking a monetary award in their California truck accident case.
Our attorneys aren’t intimidated by big companies like Amazon or their insurance companies. If you’ve been hurt or lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, we’re here to help. Reach out to our personal injury law firm for a free consultation to discuss your case to see if you’re eligible to take legal action.