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What You Need To Know About: Truckers’ Rights

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Truckers’ Rights

With so many rules and regulations in the trucking industry, you may feel like the man is just trying to get you down. And with so many reports on the exploitation of truckers, it’s easy to feel that you’ve been hung up to dry. But that is not the case. There are several laws and programs created to protect truckers’ rights. We highly recommend getting to know them and learning how to fight back if a situation ever arises.

Coercion

If your employer requests you to perform a task that violates one of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) provisions and you’ve informed them of the fact, and they attempt to coerce you to do the task anyway, you have grounds to file a complaint.

FMCSA, defines coercion as: “a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary threatens to withhold work from, take employment action against, or punish a driver for refusing to operate in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and the Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs)”.

DOT Can Be Your Friend

Let’s say you have a suspicion that the maintenance of your truck is not up to par. And you’ve told your employer about your concern, but it has gone unnoticed. Don’t wait around to get stuck with the consequences. You should stop at the nearest weigh station and ask DOT for a Level 1 inspection. But glance over this checklist first, to make sure your end of the inspection is up to regulation.

Retaliation

Afraid of your employer retaliating if you file a complaint on coercion or on the matter of health and safety? Don’t worry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has your back. They created the Whistleblower Protection Program to protect workers exercising their rights. OSHA recognizes the types of retaliation as:

  • Firing or laying off
  • Blacklisting
  • Demoting
  • Denying overtime or promotion
  • Disciplining
  • Denial of benefits
  • Failure to hire or rehire
  • Intimidation/harassment
  • Making threats
  • Reassignment affecting prospects for promotion
  • Reducing pay or hours

Out of the 22 federal laws or statutes that protect employees under the Whistleblower Protection Program, one was specifically made with truckers in mind. The Surface Transportation Assistance Act protects truck drivers that report or refuse to violate commercial motor vehicle safety regulations. You can easily file a complaint online here.

Author: Hit The Road Jack

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  1. I recently quit my job do to being forced to drive trucks violate laws and regulations. Employer knows truck has air leak because multiple drivers have reported it but still goes unfixed even when Driver writes up inspection report and leaves it for the next Driver to deal with. Now my issue started when I complained about a truck that I slip seated with one other driver who drove this truck Tuesday thru Friday and I drove it Saturday and Sunday. I found that the truck was all over the road it possibly needed a front Axle alignment so I made the call to breakdown dept. and dropped it off at the company shop for repair. The truck is put back out on the road with no repairs done to it mechanic states no issues found. I drove this truck for three months and in that time period made reports four times to my employer and dropped it off at the company shop two more times and no issues were found by company mechanic and truck was once again back on the road and I was experiencing the same issues except it seemed as if it was getting worse so I called the shop supervisor and expressed to him that there’s something going on with this trucks steering and it’s getting worse. So I was told to drop it back off at the company shop and they will check it out and the out come was my fleet manager calling me and saying that the shop found nothing wrong and to make sure the they sent to another trucking company shop and they report nothing wrong also.. So at this point I’m thinking holy s**t maybe I’m losing my motor skills or something is chemically unbalanced in my body making it to where I can’t drive a straight line or something then out nowhere I get two dot randoms drug tests in two months time with the fleet manager giving me a heads up and multiple days to get it done by which made it suspicious due to the two hour rule on a random dot drug and alcohol test. So any ways I’m clean and passed no problems. I continued to have issues with this truck and just so you know I drive another dedicated route and slip seat three other trucks a week also and had no issues with them same company same make model and year truck. I came in on a Saturday drove the truck same problems and returned the following Sunday and the truck was a totally different animal swerve from the white line to the zipper uncontrollably while I struggled to keep my lane I drove this truck to Love’s truck stop and phone dispatch and told them I’m done I will not drive this truck another inch until it’s fixed. They told me well take it to a shop I guess and it’s in one now and will not leave it until they find something wrong. So after three months of mental abuse and frustration a Love’s mechanic lifts the front end of the tractor up and starts with the leafspringleafsprinf bushing stating a lot of times he’s found that bushings were the cause wore or loose and he checked and they were fine so he continued to investigate and yells OMG dude, he says I can move the Ubolts with my fingers that holds your Axle to the leafsprings and that is definitely the cause of irratic steering the Axle is moving around. He states I’m gonna continue to look over the rest of the suspension and steering components he reached in the right front wheel well grabbed hold of the shock absorber and said this one feels tight and he moved to the left side and grabbed hold of that shock and yelled out holy ssh*t you come over here and grab this so I did and this shock was not even attached to the upper frame bracket it was blown out, the upper eye of the shock absorber was blown completely upward like someone hit a grand canyon of a pothole and it broke three dang thing and it was unnoticeable and I’ve grabbed it multiple times checking it my self but the weight of the truck was pushing down on it and I didn’t feel it move but with it in the air it’s moving in a ten inch or so circle swing. I reported it to the company shop and no one said a word to me until I refused to drive it the following weekend due to the employer refusing to due a front Axle alignment like the mechanic that discovered all these problems made aware that needed to be done asap. I told my fleet manager that I will not drive this truck until truck was repaired like the report states they can either fix it or replace it and I didn’t show up to drive it that next weekend and I was told that they were not fixing it and that they would put another driver on my route and be or she will drive that truck and until further notice I was taken off that route and reason being because this big wig who ever he was wouldn’t give a name said because we aren’t sure there’s anything wrong with this truck! I lost half of my paycheck 40 hours because I refused to drive a truck because it violates regulations of safe driving and puts me and others drivers lives in danger and they just cut my hours and tried to force me to take another route after I was hired to drive this route and drove it for three years with no problems. I quit the following week due to a truck on my other route having an air leak that I reported and five other drivers slip seating it failed to get to the shop for repairs. They wanted me to drive it to the company shop 200 miles away to swap it out for a loner truck and I refused due to the fact that I don’t drive unsafe and I follow the rules and regulations and they stated well I don’t know what to say and I said I had enough you ain’t forcing me to drive it and I quit. I later filed for unemployment and my reason for quiting was dangerous work environment and explained why… unemployment denied me my benefits stating my reason for quitting was not a good enough reason and I didn’t take the three steps to try and work around the issue instead took it upon my self to make a decision that the truck was not safe to drive. Please all I ask is that you give me a something I can use to defend my rights due to the strict laws and regulations we commercial drivers must obey for our own safety and the safety of others . Thank you

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