The trucking industry can be dangerous, and drivers are employees. As such, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that truckers who are simply trying to work safely and without injury cannot be fired or retaliated against as a result.
Some reasons that truckers may go against the company's wishes, but with this legal protection, include:
- Filing a report with the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) if there are violations of vehicle safety regulations.
- Saying they will not drive because they are too tired to do so safely.
- Saying they won't drive because they're sick.
- Complaining about violations to the company, rather than the authorities.
- Refusing to get behind the wheel when a truck is too heavy to comply with regulations.
- Refusing to drive more hours, or more hours in a row, than the safety standards will allow.
- Saying they won't make false statements in a logbook to cover up such violations.
- Not going faster than the speed limit allows or driving too fast for weather conditions.
The reason that a company may be angry with a driver who is focused on safety is simple: income. If a driver will speed, drive more hours than legally allowed and then lie in a logbook, the company has a chance to get more jobs done in a shorter time frame.
Employees sometimes take risks for fear of losing their jobs, even if it's illegal, and multiple people can be hurt. Those who are injured on the job need to know all of the legal options they have, as workplace injuries often warrant workers' compensation payments.
Source: Ask the Trucker, "OSHA and Your Rights as a Truck Driver," Allen Smith, accessed Dec. 12, 2017