The number of Amazon vehicles has increased
Our streets and highways is an ever increasing place of racing vehicles all in a hurry to get from here to there, and then, from there to here again. The scores of Amazon delivery drivers are a part of this growth of traffic. The number of Amazon vehicles has increased with its rise as the premier purveyor of goods.
Amazon delivers over one-million of packages a day. For Amazon Prime customers, its service includes a 1 or 2 day delivery on many items. To make good on this promise, Amazon must make sure its delivery drivers are pushed to the limits to make their deliveries. Amazon tracks the progress of the delivery drivers via apps installed on their smart phones. This ability to track the progress of the shipped package is also available to the customer via alerts on the app.
LAST MILE DELIVERY
One of Amazon’s biggest costs is shipping. In particular, the last mile of the delivery is the most costly. These are the delivery drivers that place the package on the doorsteps. To remain profitable, Amazon requires that the driver complete a high number of deliveries in a short amount of time. This produces additional vehicles in a constant state of rush on our highways. This may result in both an increase in the number traffic collisions and the severity of such collisions.
The deliverer was not an Amazon Employed
What if the driver delivering Amazon’s packages was not an employee of Amazon? Who could be held responsible, especially if the damages are catastrophic? Sure, if the delivery company was Federal Express or United Parcel Service, we know that such established companies have the financial ability to compensate for most legal judgments that they may be held responsible to pay. But what about a smaller, less established, less regulated independent delivery company?
Delivery Service Partner for Commercial Truck Drivers
Amazon has implemented Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program, in which the Amazon helps small business owners start their own company to deliver Amazon packages. In many cases, the new company would exclusively deliver Amazon packages. To help get such companies started, Amazon has offered financial incentives to its employees to quit and start their own company. Amazon has purchased thousands of vehicles to make available to lease to the new business.
Avoid Liability When Drivers Cause Accidents
The whole goal for Amazon is to get its packages delivered and avoid the responsibility and expense of maintaining employees. While, under DSP, Amazon certainly lessens its burden of employee wages, health insurance, employment taxes and others, the subject of this post is Amazon’s liability when it is the cause of injury in a motor vehicle accident. In that regard, Amazon’s position has been, if one of its delivery service partners causes injuries, Amazon is not liable. However, to the contrary of its delivery partners being truly independent, Amazon retains significant control over the delivery of its packages, thus suggesting that the drivers are actually employees of Amazon. Moreover, many of the delivery partners exclusively deliver Amazon packages. Ultimately, the courts must decide this question on a case by case bases. More on this subject be covered in future postings.
Traffic Accident Injuries & Who’s Responsible
In a traffic accident injury case, Amazon’s liability may very well rest on the question of whether the delivery driver was its employee, or that of one its delivery partners. Chances are that most of Amazon’s delivery partners under DSP are not as well established nor regulated as closely as other established parcel companies, like FedEx and UPS. The DSP partners will typically have less than 40 employees, drive smaller vehicles and thus avoid certain regulations, do not typically attract long-term employees and have far fewer resources than the established parcel companies. Thus, such a company is typically more likely to cause a traffic collision and more likely to have less financial ability to pay for injuries it may cause.
Commercial Trucking Accident Liability
Sure, the majority of the independent delivery companies will comply with legal requirements of liability coverage. However, with the pool of candidates to start these independent companies, under DSP, being former Amazon Flex drivers, the possibility of it being underinsured or uninsured increases. With the millions Amazon deliveries made daily and the time pressure to complete those deliveries, the probability of a vehicle collision increases.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with any driver, including Amazon or one of its delivery partners, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a free consultation regarding your rights.