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Comment from a truck driver who is coerced to break the law

As a trucking safety trial attorney in Georgia, I spend a lot of time with truck drivers, either representing them when they get badly hurt, suing them when they badly hurt someone else, or interviewing them as witnesses. Based on personal experience, I’ve thought about posting a review of truck stop food. I know that usually when they break the safety rules, it is because the company pressured them to do so.

This morning I received a comment on this blog from a truck driver who tells it like it is. Rather than leaving it buried in “comments,” I’m posting it on its own. For obvious reasons, I must protect this truck driver’s identity.

Where I work essentially…if you don’t make the logs appear legal and continue running past your 70 hour limit and are caught by the DOT,shut down for 10 hrs and written up for a ‘Violation'(as opposed to falsifying your logs to ‘look legal’ and keep rolling) you will be suspended for 2 weeks by the ‘safety dept’ and your truck will most likely be given to a new driver while your suspended,on the other hand,if you are late delivering,you will be written up and possibly terminated. How many hours you have to operate is irrelevant. Freight comes first. Technically isn’t “coercion” like this against the law ?

That has the ring of truth as the voice from an honest truck driver.

Ken Shigley is a trucking safety trial attorney representing seriously injured people and families of people killed in tractor trailer, big rig, semi, intermodal container freight, log truck, cement truck, dump truck, log truck and bus accidents statewide in Georgia.

Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in interstate trucking collision cases, and in the past two years has spoken at national interstate trucking litigation seminars in Chicago (trucking insurance), New Orleans (trial tactics and side underride issues), St. Louis (punitive damages), San Francisco (dealing with insolvent trucking companies), Atlanta (trucking insurance, closing argument), Nashville (use of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations), and Amelia Island (overview of trucking litigation).

Mr. Shigley served as chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute and is a national board member of the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. He is currently Treasurer of the 41,000 member State Bar of Georgia, of which he will become President-Elect on 6/19/10 and President in on 6/4/11. This blog expresses only personal views of Mr. Shigley, and nothing in it should be construed as expressing any opinion on behalf of any organization of which Mr. Shigley is a member or officer.

A Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale). In addition to trucking litigation, he has broad experience in products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases.

This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.

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One response to “Comment from a truck driver who is coerced to break the law”

  1. Cricket says:

    It begs the question then, of punishing your employees if they refuse to break the law, vice punishing the trucking companies for doing so, especially if they get caught. Sounds like they are relying on their drivers to ‘not get caught.’ So, are you ‘just following orders?’ I am not trying to be rude here; people do have to eat, but we have heard the ‘we were just doing what we were told’ line a bit more than we should.

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