Amazon Comes Under Fire for Dangerous, Deadly Practices as Holiday Season Begins


Here in the United States, convenience is king.  We summon cars by cell phone, appetizers by application, and anything under the sun via Amazon.com.

The enormous corporate behemoth began as an online bookstore back in the early days of the internet, which today is an idea that simply doesn’t compute, largely thanks to the e-reader revolution that Amazon themselves pushed into being.

But the rapid growth of Amazon has its costs, and they aren’t simply financial detriments.  In some cases, Amazon’s incessant push to fulfill more and more orders has turned deadly.

At one Amazon delivery facility last year near St. Petersburg, Florida, company badges hung on wall hooks, each one showing the name and photo of an approved driver.

Every morning, drivers including those who had not passed background checks grabbed one before going out on the road, even if the badges had someone else’s name and photo on them. In other cases, drivers didn’t even bother with a badge. The practices were tacitly accepted by Amazon managers who had delivery quotas to meet, according to current and former employees of Amazon as well as contractors who spoke to NBC News.

As a result, potentially dangerous drivers would be handed the keys to delivery vans full of packages, as well as sensitive information such as the addresses and access codes needed to deliver the packages, these people said.

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These lax behaviors have caused more than a few Americans to never come home for the holidays.

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Some people who deliver Amazon packages have been involved in deadly wrecks. In September, ProPublica and The New York Times reported in a joint investigation that they had found more than 60 crashes since June 2015 involving Amazon delivery contractors that resulted in serious injuries, including 10 deaths. They said the tally was likely a fraction of the crashes because many people don’t sue.

Worst still, Amazon has avoided culpability in these incidents by allowing these contracted couriers to face litigation by themselves, despite the service being provided to them.

As we Americans begin our holiday shopping sprees, the dangers of Amazon cannot be understated.

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