Trucking Companies Cannot Coerce Truck Drivers to Operate in Violation of FMCSA Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has promulgated a significant list of regulations, policies, and guidelines which apply to commercial trucking companies. These regulations are valid in all states and have force of law. In New Mexico, a violation of an FMCSA regulation can be evidence of negligence if the violation caused personal injuries in a trucking wreck. These regulations cannot be ignored, and coercion of an FMCSA violation by a trucking company against one of its truck drivers is unlawful.
Thus, victims in a New Mexico trucking wreck should call an experienced Albuquerque trucking accident attorney such as those at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys Our attorneys focus on trucking accidents, which have these special rules from the FMCSA that a normal car accident lawyer may not be familiar with or even aware of. Call us by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn how we may be able to use the violation of an FMCSA regulation to prove your trucking wreck case.
Coercion by Trucking Companies Against Truck Drivers
We may all feel some pressure from our employers to do certain things in the course of employment that we may not necessarily agree with. But we do them any through this coercion for fear of our job. Most times there are few if any ramification of following through. However, when a truck driver disagrees with the trucking company's instructions, particularly because of safety concerns, it can create a much more serious situation.
For instance, if a trucking company requires the truck driver to operate a commercial vehicle that has worn tires or faulty brakes or the trucking company will terminate, punish, or stop giving work assignments to the driver, the trucking company will be engaging in "coercion."
The FMCSA prohibits coercion by any trucking company, carrier, logistics company, receiver, or other transportation business from withholding work, terminating an employee, punishing the driver, or otherwise taking retributive action against a truck driver that refuses to operate a commercial vehicle in violation of FMCSA regulations.
Some common violations of the FMCSA that a trucking company may pressure a truck driver to violate which may result in a trucking wreck include the following:
- Hours of service violations - when the trucking company requires a truck driver to work in violation of the maximum hours, either by dispatching the employee anyway or setting up unrealistic trucking schedules.
- Defective equipment - both the trucking company and truck driver are responsible for ensuring the the commercial vehicle is properly maintained and in good working order. This includes ensuring that the truck's brakes, tires, transmissions, wheels, steering column, lights, and other devices are in good working order. If a trucking company sends a truck driver out who objects to the adequacy of defective equipment, this is a violation and coercion.
- Cargo securing or loading - if a trucking company overloads or provides improper means of securing cargo and the truck driver objects but is required to proceed, that is a violation.
- Forcing a truck driver to operate a commercial vehicle through inclement weather, including a dust storm on I-10, I-25, or I-40, despite the FMCSA regulations requiring the truck driver to slow or completely stop until the storm has passed.
Victims in Trucking Accidents Caused by Coercion
When a truck driver is coerced into operating a commercial vehicle that is unsafe, the truck driver and the trucking company may be liable. The trucking company will be more at fault for forcing the truck driver to continue to operate the vehicle despite it being knowingly unsafe or dangerous. This means that the victim injured will be able to use the evidence of a FMCSA violation and the evidence of coercion against both the defendant truck driver and trucking company in order to recover compensation for his or her injuries.
New Mexico Trucking Wrecks Caused by FMCSA Violations and Coercion Should Get Legal Support
FMCSA regulatory violations are very serious and may result in serious personal injuries or the wrongful death of a victim. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, call the experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.