Amazon vans

Today I was driving past an auto body shop that specializes in collision damage and I couldn't help but notice the three Amazon trucks parked out front.

It reminds me of the time my uncle got a job at UPS, driving a truck and doing deliveries about 20 years ago. He hated it at first, not only because it was back-breaking labor and you were on your feet running all day but also he said the driver training part was excruciating and took a couple months of having a mentor riding along with him pointing out all his mistakes.

My uncle thought of himself as one of the best drivers on the planet and hated all the time spent having to relearn how to maneuver a giant van into alleyways and loading docks, thinking it was entirely beneath his experience driving a variety of vehicles over decades.

About a year into his tenure at UPS, he backed into someone's car at an office building and he was instantly fired for it.

Seeing the three Amazon trucks at the auto body shop in my small town, I'm reminded that I've never seen a UPS truck in an accident, or in a body shop's lot. They seem to take safety seriously.

Of course, UPS isn’t immune, and accidents must happen but Amazon’s track record is so bad you can search YouTube right now for “Amazon driver crash” and easily find dozens of clips from house cameras and dash cams showing Amazon trucks hitting cars and houses and knocking over mailboxes then leaving, plus a bunch jackknifing on freeways because every driver is under immense pressure to hit their goals and deadlines, or risk getting fired if they come up short.

Amazon seems to give anyone with a pulse the keys to a giant Sprinter van and lets them loose. I say this after watching Amazon trucks regularly tear up my gravel driveway that has a slight incline at the exit. FedEx and UPS drivers figure out they should park on the flat area, then get a running start to have enough momentum to glide up the driveway and out. Amazon drivers usually start driving up the gravel incline, lose traction and slow to a stop, then punch the throttle, leaving potholes and spraying rocks all over. When I see this, I tell them to back up and try again and get some speed first from the flatter part of the run-up.

I may be cynical here, but if this post ever got shared to someone high up at Amazon, I don't think there'd be a memo sent around on how maybe they should train drivers a bit more, perhaps outfit the vans with more safety features like 360º cameras and parking sensors to prevent accidents, and maybe retool their driver incentives program to prevent future accidents by focusing maybe more on safety and having a clean driving record.

Instead, I bet there'd be a memo from the PR team that goes out to all their contracting business telling them in the future to please park any Amazon trucks in the back of any shop because seeing the Amazon "smile" logo at a collision shop is a bad look for the brand.