Amazon drivers were more than twice as likely to be rated unsafe

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Amazon.com Inc. has rapidly built a sprawling network to move merchandise around the nation’s highways. Many of the trucking companies it hired for all that driving are more dangerous than their peers, sometimes fatally so.

They include one company whose driver was found with a crack pipe after running an Amazon trailer into a Minnesota ditch. He was convicted of driving while high. Another driver hauling Amazon freight was involved in a fatal accident in Kansas after losing control while braking—two months after his employer ignored a police order to fix the truck’s brakes, police reports show. A third driver at another company had two crashes during a single trip between Amazon warehouses, ultimately careening across a Wyoming highway into an oncoming truck, killing its driver.

All three companies received unsafe driving scores that raised red flags at the U.S. Transportation Department, a Wall Street Journal analysis of government data found. Between February 2020 and early August 2022, more than 1,300 Amazon trucking contractors received scores worse than the level at which DOT officials typically take action, the Journal found. DOT scores are a widely used industry standard for assessing trucker safety.

Trucking contractors that worked frequently for Amazon
AMZN,
-1.40%

were more than twice as likely as all other similar companies to receive bad unsafe driving scores, the Journal analysis found. About 39% of the frequent Amazon contractors in the Journal’s analysis received scores at that level. Trucking companies hauling freight for Amazon have been involved in crashes that killed more than 75 people since 2015, according to the Journal’s review.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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