Right on the heels of announcing a new warehouse to be constructed in Gwinnett County, Amazon is also planning to build one in Newman, promising to create 1,500 new jobs across both facilities. What Amazon, Governor Kemp, and other proponents of the warehouses aren’t talking about is the impact they will have on local traffic and the safety of Georgia’s drivers.
The proposed Newman warehouse is expected be 1 million square feet in size and used for packing and shipping out individual Amazon customer orders. That means these orders will be driven from this warehouse to customers’ homes, or to the next step on their shipping journey, aboard Amazon vehicles that often do not stick to established shipping routes. Even if it were not for Amazon’s particularly alarming road safety record, the sheer volume of traffic these warehouses represent ought to be considered when discussing the pros and cons of their construction.
Other Cities Are Already Suffering the Traffic Consequences of Hosting Amazon Warehouses
While cities may start out eager for the jobs and other apparent economic advantages of having an Amazon fulfillment center within their borders, they’re often less thrilled with the realities of living with Amazon’s day-to-day operations.
Right now, in Sacramento, residents are trying to push back against their local Amazon fulfillment center, which they say sends long conveys of company vehicles down residential streets every morning, making it impossible for residents to pull out of their driveways. This is just the latest in a string of similar disputes across the country, and others have sadly been more gruesome.
In 2015, the mayor of Robbinsville, New Jersey threatened to sue the town’s Amazon fulfillment center for causing “unprecedented gridlock” on the streets during the holiday rush. Though the dramatic impact on travel times was the most widely felt effect, the mayor also dubbed the warehouse and its holiday shipping volume “a very serious public safety issue.” Citing data from the Robbinsville Township Police Department, he stated that Amazon vehicles alone had been the direct cause of 25 accidents in 6 weeks within the town. This does not take into account how many accidents not involving Amazon vehicles may have indirectly arisen from the gridlocked conditions.
Atlanta already struggles with more commercial traffic than its current infrastructure was built to handle, ranking as the 4th most congested city in the country in 2017 and 11th most congested in 2018. The last thing residents need is to find themselves sandwiched between two abundant sources of some notably dangerous commercial drivers.
Amazon Excels at Dodging Accountability
The fast-growing Amazon distribution network is designed with speed and deniability in mind, exploiting loopholes and creating subcontractors to shield the corporate giant from liability for its drivers’ accidents. Given past evidence, it would be naïve to expect these two proposed Amazon warehouses not to carry a heavy cost in the literal blood of Georgia residents, to say nothing of the thousands of hours lost to waiting in traffic.
Amazon will do everything possible to avoid responsibility for these costs, but The Stoddard Firm will continue to help survivors of Amazon-related accidents stand up for themselves. If you’ve already been injured in such an accident, give us a call to discuss your options.