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Help for truck drivers

November 18, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Law prohibits retaliation/discrimination against truckers who blow the whistle on trucking companies that are breaking safety laws

As a truck accident lawyer, I am frequently asked for help from good truck drivers. Many of these truckers are pushed or pressured by their companies or the safety directors to break mandatory safety laws.

Sometimes this causes egregious violations of the FMCSRs, such as pushing these drivers to drive way past the hours of service requirements, or pressuring these drivers to skip pre-trip inspections so they can complete deliveries faster.

In the past, I’ve even included some of these requests for help with the truck driver’s permission. The most frequent request I get is simply for help when these truckers are being pressured by their company to do something illegal. These truck drivers want to report company violations that endanger both themselves and threaten the public, but they fear retaliation (by the way, this is one of the biggest reasons why I’m a fan of union truckers who have more safety provisions in place to prevent this type of illegal pressure and abuse of drivers). Drivers ask me what they should do, especially when they work for trucking companies where safety and maintenance violations are rampant and widespread.

The answer lies in Section 405 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, which prohibits retaliation/discrimination for truck driver whistle blowers.

Michigan truck accident lawyer says truck drivers who play by the rules legally cannot be punished under Section 405 of the Surface Transportation Act

Be forewarned that in some cases a claim will become a long process. OSHA oversees these whistle blower claims and depending on the claim, an OSHA investigation will take time. However, the statute does provide protection for truckers. There are some truck accident lawyers who now specialize in these type of whistle blower cases against bad trucking companies that pressure drivers. Also, the statute allows collection of attorneys fees, so even if you live in a state that does not have a truck accident lawyer that handles Section 405 whistle blower type cases, I am happy to give you the name of a truck attorney who does.

Stopping this type of abuse translates to saving lives. Most truck drivers I’ve met (almost all of them in fact), are genuinely good people and really hate being pushed by companies to break safety rules that threaten them and the public. Section 405 claims serve the public interest, protect good drivers and promote safety.

Steven Gursten is a partner of Michigan Auto Law and one of the top truck accident lawyers in the country. He is past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group, and has received the top-reported jury verdict in Michigan for truck accident lawsuits. Steve was named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leader in the Law for his work to promote truck safety throughout the country.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by stevendepolo

Related information to protect yourself:

Support for truck drivers

Legal help for injured truck drivers

Trucker: Trucking industry breaking laws and putting drivers in danger

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our Michigan truck accident lawyers.

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