Trucking accidents are more common than they should be in Massachusetts, and they often result in serious or fatal injuries. We have learned over the past several years that truck accidents can often be prevented by limiting the number of consecutive hours truck drivers are allowed to be on the road, as many accidents result from truckers drifting off or failing to pay attention behind the wheel.
Therefore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has imposed rules regulating allowable driving hours. The problem is that many trucking companies — as well as many drivers — ignore these rules and end up putting the public at risk. Unfortunately, sometimes when truckers tell their employers that they don’t want to run over hours, retaliatory action is taken against them.
An example of this occurred in Massachusetts when a Massachusetts-based motor carrier fired an employee driver for refusing to go over his allowable driving hours.
Brillo Motor Transportation and its owner were ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Boston to rehire the trucker and pay him $96,864 in back wages and interest. OSHA also ordered the company to pay the worker $9,669 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in punitive damages for violating the Surface Transportation Assistance Act when the worker was fired in December 2010.
OSHA’s New England regional administrator explained that employers “do not have the right to take adverse action against an employee who refuses to violate safety regulations designed to protect him and the public.”
As you can see, this is an issue that OSHA takes very seriously, and rightly so.
Source: truckinginfo.com, “OSHA Fines Carrier for Firing Driver Who Refused to Run Over Hours,” July 23, 2013