Here’s what truck drivers can do to fight back against trucking companies and safety directors who pressure them to break the law
This week, I had two more truck drivers reach out to me for help. Like the other truckers who have contacted me before, their employers are pressuring them to lie about their hours of service on their log books, skip pre-trip inspections and as always, to speed (until we learn to pay truckers by the hour instead of by the mile, this will sadly continue). The companies want to make more money, and if pushing these truckers to break the law increases their bottom lines – then so be it. These companies don’t seem to understand, or simply don’t care, that this increases the risk of a truck wreck for the driver and for everyone else on the roads.
Here’s what these truckers had to say:
“Im dealing with the same exact situation…. my boss is wanting me to run illegal logs he just treatened my miles he’s already charging me for everything and im a company driver with a family that I have to support I would basically be working for nothing just because I won’t break the law….I need serious help”
“How do I report a company that is forcing me to falsify logs? I have proof as each and every week he gives me a redone weeks worth of logs in his own handwriting to put in my own. I’ve been doing a logbook since 2003 and and understand all the rules and regulations concerning them. The company also has me in major debt with them and if I leave I run the risk of losing my truck. I am an owner operator in need of serious help.”
As you can see, these truckers are now put in the very difficult position of having to choose to keep their jobs and keep food on the table for their families, or getting fired for not breaking the law.
These are not the first requests for help I’ve received from truckers.
Trucking companies putting profits ahead of safety is nothing new
I’ve been litigating truck accidents for over 20 years. I’ve helped more truckers who are hurt on the job and more people who are injured in these crashes than I can remember. When it comes to trucking, I’ve found time and again that these companies want to make the truckers the fall guy for the company. My advice for attorneys is always to be looking at the systems and policies of the trucking company, not just at the driver who caused the wreck. Far too often, these companies are forcing drivers to break the law.
What are truck drivers to do when their empowers pressure them to lie?
Even though the DOT now requires electronic logging devices for truckers instead of penciled in logs as of January 2016, the problem still prevails. The ELD recorders are tied to the actual truck and sense the truck’s location and operational data by pulling it from the truck’s black box and a location-based system like GPS.
The ELD rule mandates that all CMVs manufactured after the year 2000 be equipped with an ELD. The goal is to reduce hours-of-service violations (see real life examples above from truckers), which leads to fatigue, which leads to serious or fatal truck accidents.
So how are trucking companies getting around this rule? Hopefully, they won’t be. The entire point of the new ELD rule is to put a stop to this, finally.
In the past, when truckers have reached out to me asking for help, I direct them to the Surface Transportation Act, which, at its most basic level provides whistle blower protection truck drivers and trucking company employees who want to report violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
Adding on to that, here’s how truck drivers can report employers that threaten and/or require them to drive over hours, with unsafe equipment, and in violation of one or more of the FMCSRs:
A truck driver can go to the Department of Transportation website and report safety violations by clicking here. The toll-free phone number to report an unsafe trucking company is (888) DOT-SAFT (368-7238)
The FMCSA allows for anonymous reporting of safety violations.