(Natural News) Amazon drivers are complaining that they are being punished for driving habits that are considered safe, and others that are beyond their control. The drivers say that AI-powered cameras in Amazon delivery vans unfairly penalize them for things such as looking at side mirrors, adjusting the radio and even getting cut off in traffic by someone else.
A Los Angeles delivery driver shares: “Every time I need to make a right-hand turn, it inevitably happens. A car cuts me off to move into my lane, and the camera, in this really dystopian dark, robotic voice, shouts at me.”
Meanwhile, Amazon claims that it has seen a reduction in accidents and other safety violations since installing the Netradyne cameras. When these cameras spot possible unsafe driving events, the instances get factored into workers’ performance scores and can hurt their chances of getting bonuses, extra pay and even prizes when applicable.
The ratings help decide the ratings of the Amazon drivers, from “poor,” “fair,” “good” or “fantastic.” Amazon’s delivery service providers, which employ and manage the drivers, can get bonuses to put towards repairs and damages if they get a combined weekly score that lands in the “fantastic” area.
Documents reveal that delivery companies must register less than five “distraction events” per 100 delivery routes to earn this score and keep the drivers eligible for bonuses.
An owner of a Washington DSP has said that while Amazon uses the cameras allegedly to make sure that it keeps a safer driving workforce, they are actually being used to avoid paying delivery companies.
In a statement, Amazon says the safety improvements they made include industry-leading telematics and camera-based safety technology to provide drivers real-time alerts to help them stay safe when on the road.
The company adds that it has seen big changes since installing the cameras, including a 48 percent decrease in the accidents, a decrease in stop-sign and signal violations by 77 percent, a decrease in driving without a seatbelt incidence by 60 percent and a decrease in distracted driving by 75 percent.
Netradyne’s cameras track when a driver yawns, isn’t wearing a seatbelt or appears to be distracted. It does all these while also collecting biometric data.
Amazon spokesperson Alexandra Miller has said that each delivery company received training about the cameras and was required to let its workers know how the events affected the DSP scores. However, a Washington DSP owner has claimed that he hasn’t been trained in using the cameras. (Related: Amazon using surveillance cameras to monitor its own delivery drivers and track their behavior.)
Drivers resort to creative ways to avoid penalties
Due to the dire situation, some drivers have resorted to covering up their vans’ cameras with stickers to avoid getting unnecessary infractions.
“If we brought up problems with the cameras, managers would brush it under the table, they’re only worried about getting the packages out, so we cover them up,” a Kentucky delivery driver says. “They don’t tell us to, but it’s kind of like ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.'”
Other drivers use sunglasses to avoid interpreting eye movement as distracted driving.
Drivers have said that it’s difficult to appeal the wrongly flagged events with Amazon, and when they can, their attempts to do so are often dismissed.
Amazon announced the installment of the cameras in its delivery vans back in February, supposedly to improve driver safety. However, the move has raised concerns concerning privacy and surveillance.
An Amazon driver who quit over the camera installation has said that it is both a privacy violation and a breach of trust. The system installed includes a front-facing camera, two side-facing ones and another that faces the driver.
Read more about surveillance and invasion of privacy at Surveillance.news.