Amazon Delivery Drivers Face More Holiday Risks, Brace for “Holiday Hell”December 1, 2023
Seasonal Quotas & Extra Long Days Create New Risks for Holiday Amazon Delivery Drivers
Delivery drivers for retail titan Amazon shoulder some serious job-related hazards day in and day out — and those risks only surge over the holidays. With spiking Amazon sales from Black Friday through the New Year, Amazon delivery drivers and driver service partners (DSPs) usually endure even greater pressures to get more packages to more customers over the holidays.
That’s nothing new, with reports of dizzying deliveries, holiday rushes, and DSP safety sacrifices going back years.
What could be new over the 2023 holiday season, however, is the intensity of the risks DSPs take on all while coping with rising quotas, more oversight, and what some have described as “hellish” conditions just so Amazon can churn more deliveries.
Let’s take a look at why some Amazon delivery drivers expect “holiday hell” by checking out:
- 5 Seasonal Risks Amazon Delivery Drivers Are Exposed to Over the Holidays
- Amazon’s Response for the 2023 Holiday Season
5 Seasonal Risks Amazon Delivery Drivers Are Exposed to Over the Holidays
Keeping promises to customers at the expense of Amazon delivery drivers comes at a cost, and that means far greater injury risks for DSPs delivering holiday orders. Some of the elevated, holiday-specific risks Amazon delivery drivers face are as follows.
1. Much Steeper Delivery Volumes
Amazon DSPs report far more packages per stop over the holidays, with some stops getting 5 to 10 more packages than they typically would. That can mean:
- It takes longer to get boxes to front doors, adding time to every stop on an Amazon driver’s route.
- There are more chances of slipping, tripping, and falling, as drivers rush back and forth from truck to door to fulfill deliveries ASAP, so they can move on to their next stop.
- DSP employers may lean on drivers to cut corners in various ways, like encouraging them to not buckle up or speed, in order to “make up the time” with their deliveries.
On top of that, many Amazon DSPs have to make more stops during the holidays, with additional drop-off locations added to standard “routes.” That’s one reason why Amazon started creating extra-long shifts known first as “megacycles” and later “single cycles.”
2. Extended Shifts
Outside the holiday season, many Amazon delivery drivers start their day at around 5 to 6 a.m., commonly wrapping up roughly 10 to 12 hours later. That long shift gets even longer come Christmas time when many Amazon DSPs end up working 5 to 7 hours more just to finish up the deliveries for a given day. That means some drivers aren’t finishing their day until 11 p.m. or later. With that:
- The already-intense pressure to meet quotas (deemed “abusive” by industry watchdogs) only grows.
- Amazon DSPs could shoulder even greater pressures to cut corners and risk their safety.
3. Hours of Work in the Dark
Texas winters can mean darkness as early as 5:30 p.m. With Amazon DSPs working as late as 10 or 11 p.m., many end up working, driving, and delivering packages in the dark. That opens up several risks, from sharing the roads with more impaired drivers to not seeing icy walkways, encountering folks at night when they don’t expect deliveries (and may mistake DSPs as possible “intruders”), and more.
Beyond that, darkness limits visibility and exacerbates driver fatigue. That combination of factors means nighttime deliveries for Amazon DSPs come with extra risks these drivers don’t necessarily face in the daytime.
4. Greater Risks of Robbery & Violence
There’s been a growing trend of holiday delivery truck robberies, with some thieves pilfering empty trucks while DSPs drop off package. Others are hijacking entire trucks to get away with all of their contents.
As scary as that can be for Amazon delivery drivers who are just trying to do their jobs, it can get even worse; some thieves are driving Amazon DSPs to ATMs demanding the drivers pull out cash and hand over their trucks. All of that puts Amazon delivery drivers at a much greater risk of violence over the holidays.
5. Bad Weather
Storms, ice, and poor weather in general can make it harder to safely navigate the roads in Amazon delivery trucks. Winter weather can also result in slicker sidewalks and walkways, elevating the risks of falling.
On top of that, bad weather can limit visibility and make speeding far more dangerous, especially in congested areas or anywhere the roads are slick.
With that, winter weather can be a major hazard for DSPs, particularly when they’re also struggling with more deliveries, longer shifts, and working in the dark.
Amazon’s Response for the 2023 Holiday Season
More than 250,000 new workers will be added to Amazon’s workforce during the 2023 holiday season, and many of those new hires will be delivery drivers. That’s according to the latest reports, which also reveal the price tag of that investment to be about $1.3 billion.
Additionally, Amazon has stated that it will engage in “training exercises” and “predictive forecasting” to help DSPs prepare for and deal with adverse conditions on the roads. The goal is to “communicate in real-time with delivery partners and their teams” so that routes can be adjusted.
Will that response be enough to keep Amazon DSPs safe over the 2023 holiday season?
Industry watchdogs remain skeptical, urging Amazon delivery drivers to take extra caution and understand their rights and legal options if they are hurt on the job.