In July of last year, Amazon announced that it would be rolling out new electric delivery trucks.
Made by the electric vehicle company Rivian, the trucks feature an intentionally friendly-looking design, modularity (making them easier to repair), and numerous other features designed for Amazon and its drivers.
However, a user on TikTok has called out the company for something the trucks apparently don’t feature in certain situations: brake lights.
In a video with over 542,000 views, TikTok user and mechanic Chuck (@checkenginechuckllc) details the issue.
@checkenginechuckllc I drive constantly and have almost rear ended one! @Amazon #amazon #mobilemechanic #brakelights #danger #amazontruck ♬ original sound – checkenginechuck
According to Chuck, the problem comes as a result of drivers’ tendency to drive with their hazard lights on. This is, he says, due to the fact that the cars make frequent stops (though driving with your hazard lights on is illegal in several states).
The Rivian vehicles lack a third brake light, however. This means that when the hazard lights are on, there is no visual indicator that the car is braking.
“The lack of a third brake light on that thing is severely dangerous, and I hope this gets to the right people,” Chuck says.
“I drive constantly and have almost rear-ended one,” he adds in the caption.
In an email to the Daily Dot, Chuck recalled when he first observed the problem.
“I spend a lot of time on the road with my mobile business, and first noticed this when I almost rear ended one of the trucks about a month ago,” he shared. “The drivers tend to leave the hazards on while delivering on long residential roads. In my area, these roads have speed limits of around 40 mph. In New York, it is not illegal to drive with hazards on, and that’s where it becomes problematic. At the speed that electric vehicles slow, with added braking from the driver, it could easily end up with a rear end accident from a following vehicle.”
He also shared his belief that fixing this issue would require more than a software update.
“Unfortunately I do not believe this would be a software fix, as it appears that the rear led lamps are all lit at once,” he said. “LED brightness cannot be adjusted with voltage either, so I doubt they could do much of anything. Changing the tall reflector at the top of the van would be an expensive, but effective fix for them.”
“…I am unsure if these vans go against any DOT regulations,” he continued. “A heavy duty guy could easily answer that question, but if they are indeed legal, it might be time to set a new regulation. A regulation that requires the brake lamps and hazard lamps to operate independent of one another, or that heavy duty vehicles require some sort of high mounted stop lamp, just like light and medium duty vehicles do.”
In an email to the Daily Dot, Rivian shared information explaining that the truck is legally compliant.
A spokesperson also stated the following: “In this clip the vehicle operated as intended. The vehicle is slowing under regenerative breaking, and the rate of deceleration was low enough not to warrant brake light illumination. Had the driver applied the brakes, or if the rate of deceleration caused by regen was high enough, the stop lights would have illuminated at a higher intensity than the hazard lights.”
Regardless, several commenters noted the danger that vehicles with such an issue could present.
“I noticed this last night?!? An Amazon van was turning in front of me and as they turned their signal on, it replaces the headlight,” one user shared. “Horrible.”
“Yeah man I’m a body tech and the amount of Amazon vans we have at the shop at any given time is outrageous,” a second claimed. “things get hit daily.”
“As a dedicated delivery vehicle using hazards is bad idea anyway,” a third noted. “should have separate warning so blinkers and everything else functions.”
The Daily Dot contacted Amazon for comment via email.