Amazon claims it closely monitors its drivers by installing always-on cameras in all delivery trucks and asking drivers to consent to yawn-detecting artificial intelligence surveillance. Those surveillance systems have placed the retail giant in serious hot water.
A new lawsuit claims that Amazon is at fault for a recent life-altering accident in Atlanta. This accident involved Ans Rana, a 24-year old who was riding in the backseat of a Tesla on an Atlanta highway. The Tesla was stopped behind a disabled vehicle when an Amazon delivery truck hit the rear of the car. Rana was left with major spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.
In June, Rana filed a lawsuit, claiming Amazon is liable for the accident and injuries associated with the accident. Amazon, however, claimed that because the delivery driver was not technically an Amazon employee, they cannot be held responsible.
You may wonder how that could be. The Amazon delivery driver worked for Harper Logistics, LLC—one of the many partners used by Amazon for shipping Amazon packages. These Amazon partners employ more than a quarter of a million drivers across the globe. Some of these drivers admit to turning off the safety apps in order to meet their quotas.
How Can Amazon be Held Liable for Its Partners?
Rana’s lawsuit focuses on how Amazon micromanages workers by using apps, devices, and algorithms, and how Amazon exerts a certain amount of control over its delivery service partners via its technology. This technology includes monitoring of the driver’s speed, acceleration, braking, cornering, use of seatbelts, phone calls, texting, and the cameras that use AI to detect yawing (fatigued drivers). Amazon refuses to reveal the algorithms involved in these monitoring services, claiming they are trade secrets.
As an example, Amazon assigns routes based on the number of deliveries an “average” driver can accomplish within a ten-hour shift. Each driver’s performance is then monitored via hardware installed in the delivery vans, cameras, and smartphone apps. Delivery partners can be forced by Amazon to fire drivers based on driver performance.
The lawsuit filed by Rana claims the practices meant to make drivers safer actually caused the crash that altered his life, as these practices force drivers to rush to the point it is unsafe. It causes drivers to focus on speed and delivery efficiency above the safety of others.
Since Amazon Logistics currently faces 119 lawsuits filed in 2021, the outcome of Rana’s case can potentially have far-reaching consequences. The current lawsuit of Ans Rana is notable for its severity and for its claims that Amazon is liable for its partners. Twenty-four-year-old Rana spent months on a ventilator, barely hanging to life. Today, Rana is in a motorized wheelchair, unable to do the simplest task. Rana had dreams of attending medical school; his only focus now is whether he will ever walk or regain control of his arms.
When an Amazon partner driver falls behind schedule, Amazon employees waiting on the delivery send a text message to management claiming the driver needs “rescuing” to ensure the packages are delivered in compliance with Amazon’s expectations. Unfortunately, many believe these “expectations” are unrealistic and downright dangerous.
In 2021 alone, Amazon Logistics has been the defendant in 119 motor vehicle injury lawsuits across 35 states. This number is already four times as many lawsuits against delivery drivers as occurred in all of 2020—and the holiday season is not yet over.
With more than a billion dollars invested in technology and training programs, Amazon has gone the extra mile to improve the safety of its delivery operations. At least half of the delivery fleet has been fitted with video cameras, and technologies that give drivers real-time alerts are common. Further, Amazon continues to maintain that it works with delivery partners to set realistic expectations that do not place so much pressure on the drivers while maintaining its goal of reducing reliance on UPS and USPS.
As for Rana, the delivery van was traveling 67.73 mph in a 55 mph zone at the moment of impact. It remains to be seen how Rana’s claim that Amazon micromanages every aspect of deliveries will resolve.
Contact Our Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in an accident with a delivery truck or large commercial vehicle, we can help. For years, the Kim Law Team has helped injured truck accident victims, and we know how to fight large trucking companies and delivery services like Amazon.
If you suffered harm in a trucking accident in Atlanta, we can help you pursue maximum compensation. Our law firm offers FREE initial consultations and reviews, so you can get the answers you need – when you need them. Call 404-587-8946 or fill out our confidential contact form. Just call and JUST WIN.