Amazon under safety scrutiny in race to build its fast delivery network

In years past, UPS and FedEx challenged each other for fast delivery service, but since the advent of Amazon, the world’s largest retail business, the race to be the fastest delivery service on the planet has taken on a new meaning with Amazon joining the race to deliver its products even within just a few hours.

But this race by Amazon to beat out its competitors for fastest delivery service is under scrutiny.  

In 2018 as the company prepared for last year’s holiday rush, it revealed plans to make Amazon’s widespread delivery service the safest in the world.

The giant e-commerce retailer ships millions of packages per day to businesses and homes all over the US. And the company has seen over the last few years several fatal crashes involving its vans while making those deliveries.

So far this year, investigations by ProPublica and BuzzFeed News have revealed that Amazon drivers delivering packages have been involved in over 60 crashes which have led to not only serious injuries but to 13 deaths.

Publications like BuzzFeed News, ProPublica, Business Insider, and the New York Times and others have been investigating Amazon’s growing delivery service and particularly its safety policies for its delivery van drivers. 

This comes six years after Amazon’s first chief financial officer, Joy Covey, was killed by a company delivery vehicle as she was biking in a San Francisco South Bay suburb in 2013 when the company delivery van turned left into her path.

Amazon made a proposal last year to institute a five-day course for new drivers which would put them through on-road assessments and would have been overseen by a third party organization with four decades of experience in driver training like that of UPS.  However it never happened. It was vetoed down because according to a memo by a senior manager in the logistics division it would have caused a bottleneck in the company’s delivery service and would have kept new drivers from driving because of the busiest holiday season ever the company was having.

Investigations included interviews with past Amazon employees, delivery drivers and contractors. Those interviews along with internal company documents reveled how safety tips or initiatives were continually suppressed by executives because they were more concerned about jeopardizing the company’s mission of fulfilling the customer’s desire for increased faster delivery service.

Amazon has stated that this new report by the publications is an attempt to push through a pre-conceived notion the company cares more about speedy delivery service than safety. Jeff Bezos, the company’s CEO, refutes that notion declaring that nothing is more important than the issue of safety at Amazon.

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