Amazon sued for unsafe delivery practices following Austin crash

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — In mid-January, Central Texas teenager Macie Martinez was injured in a crash involving a driver making deliveries for Amazon, now she’s suing the company, the contractor and the driver.

A DPS crash report shows Martinez was driving south on Ranch to Market 620 when the delivery driver in a commercial van pulled out in front of her, trying to go northbound on RM 620 and hit her Jeep. According to the lawsuit, the delivery driver was “hurriedly exiting an adjacent apartment complex’s private drive” when she turned out onto FM 620.

Martinez remembers seeing the white van near the road. “Normally people don’t just pull out. Well, in just in a matter of seconds, she pulled out in front of my car. I just remember feeling the impact of both our cars together.” Martinez’s doctors say she suffered fractured ribs, a concussion, a fractured wrist and burns from the airbag.

The Amazon driver was not cited for a traffic violation, but the DPS report shows the driver was at fault. Martinez’s lawsuit accuses the company of pressuring drivers with inadequate training to meet unsafe deadlines. Many of the drivers are subcontracted for deliveries.

“When Amazon has policies of you can get your stuff in two hours, it puts pressure on these drivers. It’s not safe,” Misty Drubert, Martinez’s mother said. “I could’ve had an empty chair next to me over somebody’s policy and somebody’s need for stuff.”

The family’s attorney, Brad Bonilla, says they’re hoping this case brings change to the way companies take responsibility for safe deliveries.

“They are perfectly capable of creating their own delivery force,” Bonilla said. “From a legal standpoint, the only reason you try to bring in contractors is to insulate yourself from mistakes that might happen in the delivery process.”

“Some days I have to lie in bed because the pain is too much,” Martinez says. “Despite medicine and stuff like that, it’s definitely going to take a really long time for everything to be healed.”

KXAN asked Amazon specifically about the kind of training drivers receive, what their vetting process looks like, and what would disqualify a driver from delivering for Amazon. They did not respond to those inquires but did release the following statement:

We utilize a variety of carriers to deliver Amazon packages. Driver and customer safety are important to us and delivery partners receive training, are thoroughly vetted and pass comprehensive background checks.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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