'We sped like crazy': Amazon delivery drivers say they feel pressure to drive dangerously, urinate in bottles, and sprint on the job
- Some drivers who deliver packages for Amazon told Business Insider they speed, blow stop signs, and skip meal and bathroom breaks to complete deliveries on time.
- The drivers we interviewed are managed by third-party courier companies that work out of Amazon facilities. Amazon provides the companies with packages, delivery routes, navigation software, and scanning devices.
- Ann Chval said female drivers at Amazon-affiliated delivery company JARS TD brought buckets and baby wipes to work so they could go to the bathroom inside their trucks.
- "We sped like crazy, everyone I know," said Donato DiGiulio, a Chicago-area driver. "That's the only way we were able to finish our routes on time."
- Amazon said drivers are encouraged to take breaks any time they need.
Some drivers who deliver packages for Amazon say they feel pressured to speed, blow stop signs, and skip meal and bathroom breaks to complete deliveries on time.
In interviews with Business Insider, nine current or recently employed drivers of Amazon-affiliated courier companies complained about workers urinating in bottles, bags, or outside to save time on the road. The drivers we interviewed are managed by third-party courier companies that work out of Amazon facilities. Amazon provides the companies with packages, delivery routes, navigation software, and scanning devices.Marvic Trejo, a driver who has worked for two courier companies delivering packages for Amazon, said he's found bottles of urine in delivery vans and at the Amazon facilities where he loads packages.
"It's disgusting," he said in an interview with Business Insider. "There's no place in society to have people pissing in a bottle. The worst part about it is people don't even throw it away. They just throw it on the ground."
He recalled one day last summer when a female worker refused to deliver her route because the air-conditioning in her U-Haul was broken on a sweltering day.
Trejo said he would cover for her. When he climbed inside the van, he smelled an overpowering stench and spotted bottles of urine in the passenger side, baking in the heat.
"It was one of the most disgusting experiences I have had to go through," he said.
Hector Rivera, a former driver for Amazon-affiliated Thruway Direct, said he's also found discarded bottles of urine in the trucks he's driven."Everybody has to go through that - they have to pee in bags or stop somewhere and use bottles, and then they would leave it there in the van. It was disgusting," Rivera said. Thruway Direct did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Ann Chval said female drivers at Tennessee-based JARS TD, an Amazon-affiliated delivery company where she briefly worked as a driver in 2017, brought buckets and baby wipes to work so they could go to the bathroom inside their trucks. Once, a male driver urinated on a customer's lawn in front of her, she said. JARS TD did not respond to requests for comment.
The drivers we interviewed are managed by third-party courier companies that work out of Amazon facilities. Amazon provides the companies with packages, delivery routes, navigation software, and scanning devices.
Amazon spokeswoman Amanda Ip said most drivers complete routes in a reasonable time frame, and that drivers are encouraged to take breaks any time they need. The company factors a 30-minute lunch break and two additional 15-minute breaks into daily routes for drivers.
"The majority of drivers complete their daily routes in under nine hours, which factor in breaks, traffic patterns and more," Ip said. "And in cases where inclement weather or traffic may impact a driver's ability to complete a customer delivery on-time, Amazon works closely with delivery service providers to make adjustments to their delivery route and, if necessary, DSPs call drivers to return to the station."
Claims of drivers urinating in bottles does not reflect the standards Amazon has for its delivery service providers, the company said.
One driver said he didn't have any issues with stopping to use a restroom, however.Jermaine Lakota Johnson, a former driver for Courier Distribution Systems, in Everett, Massachusetts, said he had flexible hours and could take as many breaks as he needed.
"It was a great job, one of my favorites actually," Johnson said of his Amazon delivery days.
In addition to skipping meal and bathroom breaks, eight drivers employed by Amazon-affiliated delivery companies admitted to speeding regularly to complete their routes. Some said they sprinted between stops.
"We sped like crazy, everyone I know," said Donato DiGiulio, a Chicago-area driver who worked for New York-based Need it Now for eight months. "That's the only way we were able to finish our routes on time. We were zooming through residential areas, all of us, all the time."
DiGiulio said he almost hit a child playing in the street during a delivery. He slowed down after that and started stopping at stop signs. But then his route times also slowed. Need it Now did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story.
Eric Jeffries, a former Army combat-arms specialist, said Amazon required a three- to four-minute turnaround between deliveries when he worked for DeliverOL last year.
He said it was nearly impossible to finish a delivery route within Amazon's nine-hour time frame. He said the delivery job was more physically and emotionally challenging than his time in the Army.
When he was delivering, Jeffries said, he would park illegally, stuff a backpack full of packages, and then physically sprint to complete deliveries on time. He said he lost 30 pounds in his first month on the job.
Jim Blanchard, a representative for DeliverOL, said drivers should not run from one stop to the next.