This article is rather long, but it is worth reading.
Excellent article, this mirrors what has been happening in the trucking industry as a whole since deregulation ib 1980 and the resulting decline of union companies two non union ones who employ owner operators who by law cannot form unions.
The regulations don’t mean much if the driver can be fired for obeying them. Enforcement charges the driver who has unsafe brakes, not the fleet owner who puts a fleet of junk on the road.
I worked for one non union company that had two signs on the wall. One said “Your trip sheet must contain the date you actually left Buffalo, not the date your logbook says you left Buffalo”.
The second sign said " It is easy to make big money here every week, if you work all 168 hours". The second sign was supposed to be a joke, but nobody found it funny but the boss.
I think that it represents extremely good investigative journalism.
Any time someone says that regulations only impede business, this article should get referenced. Yes, regulations impede business when business is looking to cut corners and put their workers and the general public at risk.
Because the driver shouldn’t be driving a vehicle he knows has unsafe brakes, even if his employer really really wants him to. You don’t get a special exemption from having to obey a law just because your boss told you to break it. If my employer told me to shoot someone, they would get in trouble, but I would also face charges if I actually went and did it.
Plus, 49USC31105 section 405 makes it illegal to fire or otherwise penalize a driver who refuses to drive unsafe equipment. Yes, the driver might lose his job, but STAA provides for some protection there, including immediate reinstatement while the situation is investigated.
I’ll be the first to admit that this is not a perfect solution because in the time it takes for the government to receive the letter of complaint and then order reinstatement, a paycheck or two can get missed and put the guy in serious financial trouble. I’d be all for enhancing that beyond where it sits now – I think a year in jail for anyone in the decision chain that penalized a driver for not driving a dangerous truck, plus 500% back-pay restitution would suffice.
Make the consequences for strong-arming employees into risking public lives very steep, and suddenly you won’t see that kind of crap happening as much.
I believe the same issue of poor maintenance and ill-equipped drivers also exists with transports from Mexico due to the free trade agreements. I don’t know if the feds can enforce the regulations on foreign trucks or not but they should be able to red tag them just the same.
I may be wrong as it has been too many year’s since was on the road but truck’s from Mexico were only permited a limited # of mile’s in the state’s but truck’s from Canada could run all the state’s and could be red tagged.
This statement doesn’t match reality…
Back in the '60s & '70s, it was standard operating procedure for Greyhound Bus Lines to take bald tires and re-groove them.
No, not re-capping with new rubber!
They actually cut new grooves into old, bald tires.
After several serious accidents, they supposedly stopped this practice, but…
Not to argue but what I said is what I believe not what I know, and still don’t know. This paper though is 8-10 years old and written by a law firm. We do not know the current conditions or the clientele of the law firm from this paper anyway. I am suspect because many law firms have political clientele and funding sources so cannot all be trusted. In other words talk out of both sides of their face and/or do the bidding of politicians. So I didn’t know before and still don’t know the quality of the transports from either north or south. Or for that matter firms within the US that may have friends.
Prefacing disparaging remarks about Mexicans and the vehicles they drive with “I believe” does not absolve you from responsibility for disparaging them in the first place.
What was also spelled out in the PDF was the vetting process trucking companies need to go through to be granted operating authority. I’m more inclined to believe they do as well as US drivers considering the process they need to go through to be allowed to drive. Also since all trucks need to pass through some border crossing - part of the process allowing them into this country is a visual safety check and random vehicle check.
The last I knew of, Mexican trucks are still not required to have front brakes and their drivers only log hours run in the United States. As far as red taggig trucks, that is only effective If you spend more money on enforcement.
It has long been Illegal for truckers from Canada to haul goods from point to point within the United States. It has also been one of the most ignored and uninforced laws in the country. Living and operating out of a border city I knew many Canadian owner operators that spent the whole winter in the Southern United states getting point to point trips in the US from freight brokers and truck stops.
It is really naive to think that a company that has a policy of deliberately violating the law is above lying about why a driver is fired and coercing other people to swear to it.
I had a good friend at one of the largest union trucking company in the US who was fired for refusing to drive an unsafe truck, the same unsafe truck that I had refused the week before. He went to grievance and lost. It is kind of had to win when the three company reps on the 6 man committee are from the company that fired him. That was the contract we were under. Jimmy Hoffa was a crook, but he got us our money before he got his. The teamster officials who came after, to often got theirs by giving ours away.
He had to hire his own lawyer and file a claim under OSHA in front of an administrative law judge. The company maintained that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the truck and produced the shop manager that they had inspected the truck and found no work needed.
He won only for 3 reasons, a courageous mechanic who testified that he had seen the work being done to fix the truck, a very good labor attorney who found gaps in the numbers of the shops work orders, and my testimony that I had an identical problem with that truck a week earlier.
He got his year and one half back pay, but not his pension money, his lawyer could not represent him in that action because the trucking company had hired her so she could not represent any more drivers.
The mechanic had been threatened in attempt to get him to not testify, a union steward who got the best runs and eqquipment lost his memory when called to the stand and they did not bother to threaten me because I had previouslt told the terminal manager that I already had more that 30 years in the pension and could retire at any time.
I read a couple interesting books on the subject. “Crossing Hoffa” was about his early years and a driver in Minnesota. Can’t remember why I read it but think a girl at work might have been a relative of the driver. Then “I hear you paint houses”. The driver that claims he was there when Hoffa got whacked. Death bed testimony. Might be true might not, I dunno, but you learn a lot about the guy. The Minnesota guy magically lost his brakes going down Highway 61 one night. 40’s or 50’s time frame or so. I should just start reading the books I already read again since I forgot most of it. Gotta remember back in 1948 Hubert Humphrey and Orville Freeman teamed up to clean things up in Minnesota and throw the ^%$&* out. They’re both dead now.
I respect your courageous action, In a world of diminishing worker rights it is sad things had to go to such an extreme, and I fear it is only getting worse for now.
I agree, but I don’t think that. That’s why I’m in favor of better government oversight, especially of companies that impact public safety such as transportation outfits.
It’s a lot harder to get away with not fixing broken equipment when the compliance inspector stops by once a month to check things over. But as soon as that gets suggested people howl that gubmint is too big, and that costs too much money, and it gets in the way of commerce.
OK. Fine. Then accept the fact that an ever increasing number of people are going to get killed by companies putting profit ahead of everything else including human life. That’s the hard reality of the “starve the government” movement.
During the administration of our previous Governor, trucking companies were given the authority to “self-inspect” their equipment. Not having State Troopers or MV Inspectors involved in the inspection of heavy trucks is very short-sighted, IMHO.
Self inspecting ? Think Boeing !!
I remember when OSHA was first formed, we had a brand new 40 door terminal. They came in an took two doors away to put steps from the ground up to the loading dock even though we already had steps at both ends al=nd ladders between every door. They also mad us rip the new tile walls apart in the bathrooms to lower the toilet paper holders because they were too high for children to reach. As far as I know we never employed any children.
We had high hopes for OSHA getting involved in truck safety but after a few months the OSHA inspector came, parked in front of the officem got his box of Cuban cugars and bottle of Crown Royal and left.