Amazon’s fleet of over a quarter of a million drivers is almost as large as the United States Navy but lacks the discipline and ethics the latter adheres to. Choosing Amazon driving as a career brings an unforeseen barrage of risks to the ostensibly quiet profession.
Amazon employs a driving app called Mentor which tracks driving quality and safety practices of drivers. Based on metrics produced by the app, drivers are given a safety score which plays a part in determining the bonus subcontractors receive at the end of each year.
Amazon itself does not directly employ its drivers but instead negotiates with contractors to obtain the manpower necessary to run its corporate empire. As the contractors are paid based on fulfilling Amazon’s delivery quotas, which are among the most demanding in the industry at 400 parcels a day on busy days, contractors have reportedly ordered their drivers to turn off Mentor and use any measures necessary to deliver packages.
Safety concerns arise when Amazon drivers become involved in reckless driving, frequently causing accidents and collisions. Drivers are widely encouraged to skip mandatory breaks and work well beyond the 10-hour workday guideline in order to prevent salary cuts. Under intense pressure and stress, the frequency of accidents, hit-and-runs, and even fatal collisions prove common occurrences.
Amazon strategically deflects blame onto the driver contracting companies, which number over a thousand and employ hundreds of thousands of drivers. Thus, Amazon is able to reap all of the rewards of the efficient business while shouldering none of the safety liability and little costs.
On the other hand, Amazon drivers also run an exceedingly high risk by driving for Amazon. Not only is the reward structure designed to favor reckless driving and unsafe practices(Amazon gives financial incentives to contractors who are able to deliver more packages with their drivers), but also harms the drivers themselves. In their haste, drivers have reportedly suffered various health issues and unsafe conditions. According to Colorado Public Radio, many Colorado Amazon drivers were ordered to relieve themselves in cans and bags in the back of their vans in order to save time and deliver more packages. Many also reported having to skip lunch among other meals. Amazon drivers are victims of ambushes, shootings, and even disappearances.
A growing class of physically stressed and psychologically tortured drivers roaming the streets of America poses a threat not only to pedestrians and other honest civilians across the nation but also serves as a detrimental circumstance to the company and its contractors.
It is time for our country to realize that given the company’s flawed operating structure, what is good for Amazon is bad for America and that the corporation’s immediate dissolution is necessary for the safety and tranquility of our citizens.