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The rights of a truck driver are important to know whether you intend to pursue a career in the trucking industry. The truck driving training program teaches you the rules of the road, but does not necessarily cover the rights of truck drivers. If you are already a truck driver, it is never too late to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Truck drivers have rights regardless of whether they work for a trucking company or an independent owner-operator. By reviewing your rights and responsibilities, prevent trucking companies and carriers from taking advantage of your lack of understanding of truck driver laws.

Commercial Driver’s Rights -

You have the right to be a truck driver. The rights of commercial drivers cover everything from being forced to operate an unsafe platform to being pressured by porters to ignore Federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Forcing truck drivers to ignore truck drivers’ laws violates truck drivers’ rights. This is called coercion and is the reason for complaints against the freight company or carrier.

Requesting truck drivers to violate the rules and regulations of the Federal Motor Transportation Safety Administration (FMCSA) is punishable by law. Not only truck drivers may be caught in legal disputes due to violations of the law, but truck transport companies and carriers may also be caught in legal dilemmas. Even if the truck driver is forced by the employer or the carrier to bypass the safety rules and regulations, if he does not report the incident but accepts an illegal order, he still has to bear legal responsibility.

Trucker Rights when Subjected to Coercion -

Truck drivers who believe that they are victims of coercion must follow the guidelines set by the FMCSA to protect themselves. The mandatory prohibition of commercial motor vehicle drivers passed in 2016 provides clear rules for truck drivers to report incidents of coercion. Truck drivers who must ignore the hours of service (HOS) restrictions, commercial driving license (CDL) regulations, and any drug or alcohol testing rules must follow certain agreements to protect themselves from penalties and possible CDL losses.

The carrier, consignee, consignor, or transportation intermediary requires the truck driver to perform a task that violates FMCSA regulations.

The driver informs the requesting party that the task violates federal or state motor vehicle driving laws and creates unsafe driving conditions.

If the driver refuses to accept the requested violation, the consignee, shipper or transportation intermediary threatens employment or job opportunities.

Trucking Labor Laws -

State and federal labor laws outline the rights of truck drivers. Trucking companies and motor vehicle carriers must comply with truck driver wages and overtime laws. Regardless of whether the truck driver is paid by the mile or by the piece, the total amount paid must meet the federal and state minimum wage standards. Divide the total number of hours worked in shifts by the total wages received to determine whether a wage law violation has occurred. When it comes to overtime pay, the law for truck drivers is a bit vague. The federal car carrier exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides overtime exemption for most truck drivers. According to Article 13 (b) (1) of the exemption, truck drivers who meet the following criteria are exempt from overtime pay:

They are employed by car carriers or private car carriers as employees (Article 13102).

Your responsibilities affect the safe operation of transporting motor vehicles on public highways for interstate or foreign trade.

They are not covered by the small vehicle exception.

Regardless of whether you are eligible for overtime pay, truck drivers can work up to 14 hours a day, of which 11 hours are used for active driving. Trucking companies that try to push the boundaries of drivers violate the law of truck drivers and the rights of truck drivers. If truck drivers have questions about whether the exemption applies, they can call the toll-free number 866-487-9243 to contact the Payroll and Hours Department.

Truck Drivers’ Rights to Time Off -

The long-distance truck driver drove on the road for several weeks. When requesting a rest at home, you can use some techniques to ensure that your dispatcher or carrier will not easily forget that they have approved a rest time.

Check your contract. Some freight companies stipulate the terms and conditions of vacation in their contracts with drivers. If your employer violates the contract with you, then you have legal recourse.

Record all approved vacation time. Once you apply and your employer approves it, be sure to get their written approval. You can send a friendly email reminding them of the agreed rest date and keep a copy for your records.

Let employment lawyers maintain speed dials. The freight company knows that they are subject to labor laws. They just hope that truck drivers don’t understand their rights. If you are denied time at home for a breach of contract, please call an employment lawyer. Most trucking companies only need a lawyer’s phone number to comply with the law. In recent years, federal courts have imposed penalties on freight companies that fail to comply with leave regulations.

Trucking Labor Laws: Employee vs. Independent Contractor -

It is illegal to incorrectly classify an employee truck driver as an independent contractor. Owner operators are considered independent contractors because they own their own rigs and set their own operating hours. Sometimes, freight companies try to force owners and operators to comply with their terms. When this happens, they begin to walk down the slippery slope of misclassification.

How do you know if you are an employee? This is the touchstone: whose truck do you drive? If the answer is that the platform you are operating belongs to a carrier or transportation company, then you are an employee. To become an owner-operator, a truck driver must own and maintain his own vehicle.

Another determining factor is who has the authority to operate. Every shipping company or owner operator must have the right to transport goods in the United States. If the carrier has operating authority, then you are an employee.

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