By: Allan M. Siegel
Amazon has established a significant presence in the commercial transportation
industry with its own fleet of tractor-trailers and planes that transport
Amazon-purchased products where they need to go. Now, Amazon is looking
to revolutionize the $800 billion trucking industry by developing a new
app designed to connect truck drivers with shippers.
According to reports from company insiders, the app would function similarly
to apps like Uber in that it would enable truck drivers to easily connect
with shippers and distributors that need goods transported. The app, which
is scheduled to launch in Summer of 2017, would eliminate the need for
third-party companies that take on average 15% commission for their middleman services.
Features of the app are expected to include:
- Real-time pricing and driving directions
- Recommendations for truck stops for drivers
- Suggested “tours” for picking up and dropping off various cargo
- Tracking and payment options that expedite shipping
Amazon’s latest move would position the company as one that controls
all aspects of consumer purchases, shipping, and delivery. By cutting
costs on middleman services that handle coordination of pickups and drop-offs,
the company and its customers could also see significant cost savings.
Although the trucking industry is worth an estimated $800 billion, it
has been slow to adopt and implement new technologies that streamline
its processes, particularly because the majority of trucking operators
are small businesses, with 90% of them operating less than six commercial vehicles.
In addition to safety regulations already in place, Amazon will be working
to refine regulatory elements of its new trucking service. This will include
limiting drivers from pressing multiple buttons during en-route calls
and strict limitations for how long drivers can work before taking mandatory
Thanks to Amazon and other new technologies in the works, the trucking
industry is indeed evolving. Because truck accidents have such an overwhelming
potential to cause serious harm during collisions, however, these new
ventures raise many questions about how public safety will be impacted.
As was the case with Uber, for example, Amazon’s projected app brings
concerns regarding the qualifications, backgrounds, and fitness of drivers
and the various vehicles they’ll be using.
Rules regarding commercial insurance and liability will also need to be
established in order to ensure that should an Amazon-app truck be involved
in a wreck involving injuries or death, victims will have access to the
compensation they need. Sufficient insurance coverage is a concern for
the entire trucking industry, as many experts believe the current
federal insurance minimum for commercial carriers is too low.
Because we represent many victims injured in
tractor-trailer accidents across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, our legal team will continue
to follow the development of Amazon’s trucking app and the regulatory
framework surrounding safety and insurance issues. Our attorneys continuously
follow transportation industry developments to ensure our car and truck
accident victims receive the representation they need to pursue full and