Mercedes-Benz Vans Used for Amazon Deliveries Face Rollaway Risk
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The sight of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans zipping around the neighborhood is nothing new. The delivery trucks are commonly used by companies like Amazon to bring online orders to the door. They have become almost as familiar as the mail truck.
But, you should be careful around these vans because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has started investigating potential problems with the vehicles. According to Autoblog, the NHTSA is looking into reports of Sprinter vehicles rolling away when parked. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is commonly used for deliveries.
Amazon orders Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans in 2018
In 2018, Amazon established its own delivery fleet to keep up with growing sales, as reported by Business Insider. Amazon plans to eventually eliminate its reliance on the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx to carry out deliveries.
The online giant ordered 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans from Daimler AG. Amazon doesn’t own the vans. Instead, a fleet vehicle company leases them to new delivery companies, but the vans are emblazoned with the Amazon logo.
Amazon saw it as the perfect way to control costs and manage its own deliveries. Now the retail company is caught in the middle of an investigation by federal safety officials. The often-spotted and easily recognizable Sprinter might be a hazard on the roads.
Why is the NHTSA investigating the Sprinter vans?
Sprinter vans are used for a wide range of commercial purposes including ambulances and delivery vehicles. The NHTSA hasn’t revealed the total number of vans they’re investigating. But recent complaints are focused on the 2019 Sprinter model year and involve the 2500, 3500, and 4500 vans.
The NHTSA received reports that the Mercedes-Benz vans were rolling away after being shifted to park using the Auto-P function. The Auto-P automatically puts the van in park as soon as the driver takes off their seat belt.
One driver in Pittsburgh claims the same faulty system was responsible for rollaway incidents in two different vans. The Amazon-branded vehicle rolled backward down a hill after it was turned off and parked.
The Auto-P brand feature is a favorite with delivery drivers whose job requires jumping in and out of the van all day. The NHTSA is dealing with 11 rollaway complaints from various parts of the country. Unfortunately, eight of these incidents resulted in crashes with one injury reported.
Will the NHTSA issue a recall for impacted vans?
So far, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans in question have not been recalled. The NHTSA has expressed concern that the rollaway vehicles pose a threat of injury or property damage. But for now, the automaker has agreed to comply with the investigation and remains in close communication with federal officials.
Mercedes’ cooperation isn’t surprising considering the Sprinter van is vital to so many businesses. The same model is used for recreational vehicles as well as passenger vans. Many Sprinter vans are used daily and both drivers and pedestrians may be put in serious danger because of rollaway risks.
Almost 30,000 Sprinter vans were sold in 2019. If investigators decide to issue a recall, it’s bound to be a massive one.
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