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by Jeff Rasansky - March 7, 2014
Jeff Rasansky
Jeff Rasansky, managing partner of Rasansky Law Firm, is an aggressive Dallas personal injury lawyer with 25 years of legal experience.

VIDEO: A fatigued truck driver captures a disturbing conversation with his trucking company on video.

Trucking companies are notorious for caring more about profits than the safety of their drivers and other motorists on our highways. In the video below, you’ll see a truck driver employee show first-hand how the logistics superiors tried to bully him into operating his truck even when he wasn’t physically able to do so.

The Revealing Video

This particular driver made this video to highlight some of the problems truck drivers face when it comes to working in an industry that’s notorious for flouting rules, which in the end endangers the lives of everyone on the road.

Pushed beyond the limits.

Truck drivers are consistently pushed beyond their limits. Given the fact that they’re as human as the rest of us, they sometimes crack under pressure and cause truck accidents due to fatigue, inattention, distraction, stress and sleepiness. The laws which exist only authorize truck drivers to operate their vehicles for 11 hours within a 14 hour window. After this, they are required to “rest” for 10 hours before getting back on the road again.

Truck drivers  get blocks of time when they’re supposed to rest before resuming work. These hours are usually mandated by the Labor Department and are enforced by state transportation bodies. Because of the sheer size of these trucks, it takes physical effort and skill as well as alertness to drive them over a long period of time and on long distances. One tiny error behind an 18 wheeler might cost another person’s life due to the size and mass of these trucks.

In this particular video, the truck driver in question was instructed to drop off his trailer at a specific location after a 10 hour break. He was then asked to take another 10 hour break despite the fact that he just got a full night’s sleep. Being that he’s human with regular needs and a circadian rhythm just like the rest of us, it simply wasn’t possible for him to go back to sleep after only being awake for about half an hour.

As stated in FMCSA Regulation § 392.3, “No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.”

The trucking company also let him know that once the second mandated 10 hour break was over, he had to get back to operating vehicles without fail or delay. He did as instructed, and picked up cargo and got back on the road on his way to Wisconsin from Michigan. He was able to make his way to Indiana’s city limits before realizing that it would be virtually impossible for him to continue on with his journey before getting some sleep.

Bullying by the trucking company.

When the driver noticed that he was falling asleep behind the wheel, he decided to call his superior so he could let them know that he might not be able to stick to the earlier agreed schedule. The video recording detailing his conversation with his superior was shocking: his superior tried to convince him to no avail to shake off the fatigue and to get back on the road. He even threatened to have his pay docked for refusing to complete the journey in the agreed time.

The truck driver listened to his conscience and got a couple of hours of sleep, something that’s in contravention with the initial orders given out by the trucking company.

Truck drivers have rights, too.

It’s important to realize that your rights as a truck driver are protected by the FMCSA and the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA). The STAA is a set of statutes that will protect you from discrimination, disciplinary action or dismissal in such cases. The act states that complaints will be investigated by the office of the Secretary of Labor as long as it’s done within 180 days of the infraction.

Trucking companies, if found guilty, will be required to reinstate fired drivers. At the same time, they might be forced to pay any monies owed by them to the worker in question. Lastly, they may be required to take affirmative action to remedy the violation.

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