Trucking in the United States is the primary means of transporting food, clothing, and just about anything you can imagine. Our roadway infrastructure is in constant use by these large rigs to get material items from the manufacturer to the businesses to distribute to the local community. Even with the use of planes and trains, eventually the items will still need to be loaded into a truck to get to their final destination. This requires a lot of manpower and coordination. Over the years truck drivers have been able to receive more protection and benefits from this arduous task of driving long distances over long periods of time. Certain agencies have been established to protect the drivers for workers rights, and maintaining their safety and health while on the roadways.
Recently an agency called FMCSA or The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a ruling to regulate the hour’s truck drivers can be on the roadways. Most notably was enforcing the hours a driver can operate a truck during a seven day work week to 70 hours. This also included giving truck drivers a 30 minute rest period after an eight hour shift of driving. Trucking operates on tight schedules and requires drivers to make long hauls in short durations of time. This adds a lot of stress and pressure on someone who is driving a semi-truck in traffic and around the country. Enforcing these braking periods will allow them to have piece of mind for a break to stop and rest or eat peacefully instead of while driving on the road. This not only helps out the driver but creates a safer situation for motorists as well.
Independent Contracting In California
Another recent “win” for truckers in Los Angeles occurred when a company was forced to pay out over $2 million dollars for illegally classifying some truckers as independent contractors. This allowed the company to avoid certain costs pertaining to truckers waiting on their loads at pickup and being reimburse for certain expenses of the job. Typically these rights are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act for full time employees. By labeling them as independent contractors the company could side skirt these expenses and illegally avoid any costs associated to benefits of full time employees versus an independent contractor. There were a total of 49,000 cases nationwide of drivers being robbed of proper compensation.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, has been at the forefront for protecting truck drivers over the years. Not only will they fight for drivers getting back pay for illegal loss of benefits, but they also protect the driver’s rights for health and safety as well as standard employee benefits. If a driver is fired, has lost wages, or there has been any misconduct due to them following the FMCSA regulations, they may file a complaint with OSHA. OSHA in turn will fight for the drivers legal rights and in some cases get there license reinstated, award them money, or compensate them for there loss appropriately.
This article was provided by Nick Quinlan, professional writer and content developer at WorkFlow Employer Services. Nick is a skilled blogger who has a relentless passion for finding truth and knowledge.