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OSHA Helps Trucker Fired for Refusing to Break Safety Rules

tractor trailerIt’s a tough call that truck drivers are often forced to make.

A trucker was assigned to transport a load of Poland Spring water from Massachusetts to New Jersey. A severe thunderstorm causing flooded roads and heavy traffic slowed him down considerably, and he realized he would not be able to complete the delivery and return home without violating the federal hours of service regulations intended to prevent overworked truckers from becoming a danger on the highways. So, he delivered the shipment to a closer facility; the trucking company and the customer approved the arrangement, and another driver carried the shipment to its final destination.

He was fired the next day for insubordination.

The driver filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, who stepped in to help. According to one of their administrators:

“The law is clear: Drivers have the right to raise legitimate safety concerns to their employer – including refusing to violate safety regulations – without fear of termination or other retaliation. NFI must reverse its actions and compensate this driver for the financial and other losses he has suffered as a result of his illegal termination.”

OSHA ordered the trucking company to reinstate the driver’s employment and compensate him for the financial losses he suffered, including lost wages and legal fees.

Unfortunately, for many truckers, there is immense pressure to defy safety regulations in order to get the job done. Otherwise, they may fear losing pay, or even losing their jobs. Safety regulations, especially the hours of service rules, are in place not only to protect truck drivers but also to protect the traveling public who share the road with these big rigs. What many people don’t realize is that lack of rest can impair one’s faculties as much as being legally intoxicated.

The consequences of exceeding hours of service limits, or violating any other safety rule, can be absolutely devastating.  When we investigate a tractor trailer crash, we frequently find that the truck driver at fault was in violation of one or more safety regulations. When this happens, the trucking company as well as the driver may be held accountable.

If you are a trucker who has been hurt in an accident, or if you have been in a car crash involving a tractor trailer, contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consult with one of our accomplished truck accident lawyers.

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