Trucker Claims Amazon Contract Carrier Coerced Him to Break HOS, Then Doctored E-logs
Seattle, WA – In a new lawsuit, a Tennessee-truck driver claims the carrier he was leased to, along with Amazon, coerced him to drive well-beyond what federal hours of service (HOS) regulations allow, and then remotely edited his electronic logs to cover it up.
In a lawsuit recently filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, lease operator Timothy Weakley claims South Holland, IL-based AAA Freight Inc., along with Amazon, “routinely coerced” him to break HOS rules and worked him “into the ground like a rented mule.”
According to the 27-page complaint, Weakley was hired by AAA on May 4, 2019 and he leased a truck from its sister company AAA Leasing LLC.
Weakley claims Amazon is AAA’s largest account and “for the most part,” he exclusively hauled for the online retail giant.
The scathing complaint describes an “escalating pattern of reckless disregard for federal law” on the part of AAA and Amazon.
Weakley asserts he was “unlawfully” coerced to drive for “extended periods of time lasting as long as 20-30 hours or more with only an hour or two of rest.”
The complaint cites multiple occasions in which Weakley says he was verbally berated by a member of AAA dispatch for pointing out he had run out of hours.
“Amazon is our biggest and best paying customer so occasionally we have to bend the rules in order to appease them,” Weakley claims AAA dispatch told him.
“Turn your truck in and find a new line of work more suitable for laziness. Are we clear?” Weakley claims he was told.
Weakley says when he mentioned he was out of hours to drive, the AAA dispatcher told him not to worry about it.
“AAA’s so-called safety department displayed gross-negligence by remotely editing Weakley’s e-log to reflect he was off-duty” when he was actually driving, the complaint contends.
The complaint alleges Amazon knew, or should have known, Weakley was in violation of HOS due to its “proprietary cellular phone GPS and freight tracking application,” which Weakley says he was required to install on his phone as a condition of employment.
Once, Weakley contends he called Amazon to inform them he didn’t have the hours to haul the load AAA was asking him to haul.
He claims he was told by an Amazon representative he was going to have to take it up with AAA.
“Go to Hell!,” he says he told the Amazon representative.
Shortly after that call, Weakley claims he received a call from a member of AAA’s upper management team.
He says the man, who had “a stern Russian accent,” told him to never call Amazon headquarters again.
“I am not a machine,” Weakley responded. “Ya’ll have run me into the dirt and couldn’t care less about my safety.”
The man allegedly responded: “I am not here to argue and debate with you. You have two options. You can run this load and keep your job or you can return my truck and trailer here to Chicago and go find you a new job. We are sick of your juvenile antics. So what your choice is Mr. Big Shot?”
Weakley asserts the result of this treatment took a negative toll on his physical and mental health.
He says it all caught up to him the night of October 31, 2019.
He claims he had just finished a 22-hour delivery from Missouri to Tennessee when AAA finally dispatched him home.
While traveling east bound on Interstate 26, Weakley says he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his semi-tractor into a concrete barrier along the roadside.
The complaint alleges the crash caused him to “incur significant medical expenses, loss of his business and loss of income.”
Further, the suit seeks in excess of $75,000 in damages for “pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of earnings and earning capacity, necessary medical, therapeutic, pharmaceutical care, and loss of consortium.”
AAA has not yet released a statement.
However, Amazon did release a statement saying AAA is “one of thousands” of carriers it contracts with.
“We require our contractors and their drivers to comply with strict policies that ensure safety, among other things,” Amazon said in a statement. “We are actively looking into the claims, as we always do when these rare, but unfortunate situations arise.”
Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow this case.
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