According to an Vice report, some Amazon delivery drivers are instructed by their employers to disable Amazon’s safe driving app to speed up their journey and complete their deliveries. The drivers don’t work directly for Amazon, but for companies known as Delivery Service Partners, and they report that their managers or dispatchers ask them to turn off Amazon’s Mentor app after running it long enough to get a good score.
Mentor, the app created by a company called eDriving, gives delivery drivers a safe driving score based on variables such as their braking, acceleration, speed and distraction during their 10-hour shift. Many drivers report that the score the app gives them is factored into their bonuses (and the bonuses and incentives paid to the delivery companies contracted with Amazon).
Vice reports that some of the delivery companies make drivers leave the app on for part of the day to try to trick Amazon and the Mentor app, with one company messaging drivers like ‘everyone has to be at Mentor for at least 2 hours are logged in no more no less. “A Michigan driver said the company wanted to disable the app to improve delivery times.” They were tough on drivers who weren’t driving as fast as they wanted. “
An Amazon spokesperson said Vice that the behavior is unacceptable and that it “does not meet the safety standards that [Amazon expects] of all delivery service partners. They also said that “more than 90% of all drivers are able to complete their deliveries before the scheduled time while following all safety procedures.” (Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how it collected those statistics and validated.) As Vice points out that it is Amazon’s software that determines the delivery routes and Amazon that sets the productivity targets for which drivers are incentivized.
According to ViceAccording to the report, Mentor also has a buggy when it is on, with drivers reporting that it is distracting them because they did not touch the phone. The app’s reviews in the App Store have titles such as ‘inaccurate and they don’t care’, ‘personified frustration’ and ‘inaccurate data will cost us our jobs’.
Delivery companies are also reportedly asking employees not to report vehicle damage to Amazon, but choose to repair the vans themselves to avoid being taken off commission.
It is unclear how Amazon’s recent introduction of AI-powered surveillance cameras will change this dynamic between the delivery service partners and their drivers. You could imagine that having a camera in the van would make it easy to determine if employees are turning off other surveillance equipment. It could also be imagined that there are other ways to ensure safe and fast deliveries that do not require an Orwellian work environment.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment or track which companies are making these requests from drivers.