Amazon and senators clash over driver safety

Amazon is under fire from senior US politicians for safety concerns over its drivers.

Three US senators including Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal and Sherrod Brown demanded that Amazon cease using driver agencies that flouted federal and motor carrier regulations. They called its response to them ‘evasive’ and it should “throw open its books” if it was committed to proving its safety record.

“Instead, as multiple press reports and their response to our letter demonstrate, Amazon chooses to hide behind its delivery partners and a mandated veil of secrecy to protect itself from a disastrous record and true accountability,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “The public deserves a substantive conversation about worker safety and a commitment to real reform. Amazon’s time would be better spent working to provide specific answers to the questions we asked and addressing the troubling issues we raised.”

The senators cited media investigations including one from Buzzfeed that claimed that Amazon is still working with last-mile delivery firms that fail to pay overtime, deny breaks and don’t punish sexual harassment.

“At a minimum, Amazon is falling far short of its responsibility to ensure its contractors are following labor laws and safety regulations,” Blumenthal contended. “I will continue to press the company until it stops looking the other way as its contracted drivers are forced into unsafe vehicles and given dangerous workloads.”

In response to being asked by the lawmakers if the company would commit to ending contracts with companies that have violated labor laws, Brian Huseman, Amazon’s Vice President for Public Policy, said the company does not condone labor law violations. “Where we find repeated violations, or an inability to correct labor violations, we terminate contracts with DSP [Delivery Service Partner] program participants,” Huseman said. “We will continue to hold DSPs to high standards and take appropriate actions when DSPs fail to meet those standards.”


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