Dangers of Truck Driving

Posted by on Sep 9, 2017 in Overtime | 0 comments

It’s no secret that truck drivers are subject to very demanding work conditions. Trucks are in many ways the lifeblood of America, moving food and supplies around America. The companies they work for are on tight schedules, and as a result, many truck drivers have to work hours that would seem insane to the average American. The Department of Transportation limits truckers to an 11 hour work day and a 70 hour work week, but many work much more than that. A recent USA Today study found some truckers who were working up to 20 hours a day.

Working these kinds of hours can be exceedingly dangerous, not just to the health of the truckers but to the well-being of everyone else on the road. Driving while fatigued is very dangerous, and studies have shown that fatigue is just as debilitating as intoxication while driving, in some cases even more so. There’s a reason that regulations exist around trucker’s working conditions, and an employer that is too demanding and wants to skirt those laws puts not just their employees but the general public at risk.

Luckily for truck drivers, there are several regulations put in place by OSHA that protect trucker’s right to rest. OSHA ensures the right for drivers to make complaints about safety violations to their employers and the DOT, and the right to refuse service on the grounds of exhaustion or sickness. They also enforce the working time limits put in place by the DOT.

Unfortunately, many truckers don’t take advantage of these rules, and OSHA is not strict enough on trucking companies to stop them from violating the rules either. This means that many truck drivers on the road today are working twice as much or more per day as a typical American. These drivers are at a much higher risk for accidents and are at risk for the many health issues associated with prolonged fatigue.

All of this is due to the disproportionate power that trucking companies hold over their employees. Often, truckers lease their trucks from the companies that employ them and have to work long hours to make the monthly payments on them. Aside from this form of economic control, it is very difficult for truckers to prove why they were fired if they are let go. If a driver makes a complaint against his employer and is then terminated several months later, it is very difficult for them to prove that their complaint was the reason for termination.

To combat the problems associated with long hours, it’s important that truck drivers know their rights as defined by the DOT and OSHA and be sure to take advantage of those rights if they are violated. If their company decides to retaliate and terminate them for exercising those rights, good legal representation, combined with meticulous record-keeping, is essential to ensure that the company is fully prosecuted and held to account for its wrongful termination.

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