Can I bobtail while technically injured

by Justin
(Dallas)

Hello. I'm currently waiting for my shoulder injury to heal so that I can get back on the road. I hurt myself lifting heavy tarps. Went to dr. He put a restriction on me saying that I can't lift anything over 30 lbs until I'm healed. But he said I was fine to return to work otherwise.


Unfortunately, every flatbed job requires me to lift more than that; so I can't return to work for at least another week. I asked if it was ok for me to even drive since shifting is involved. He said that I could drive and do any other part of my job that doesn't require me to lift more than 30 lbs. And he did not and has not put any driving restrictions on me, whatsoever.

I'm fine driving; no problems with shifting, and I know my shoulder is healing fine. So I called the workman's comp folks at Prime as a courtesy to give them an update and happened to mention that I had driven my truck to my Dr's appointment. After all, I'm living in it. Why wouldn't I? Got my ass chewed for doing so. They said it was a DOT violation for me to be bobtailing and that I can get in serious trouble for doing so. I told them that it is not a violation since the Dr didn't put any restrictions on me driving. Only on lifting more than 30lbs. They wouldn't hear it and told me that I have to park it and use uber to get around for the next week.

Now, I completely understand why Prime wouldn't want me using their truck (my home) for non-company purposes, but is it actually somehow illegal even though the Dr put no restrictions on me driving and implicitly told me that it was ok to drive? And if so why?

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Mar 09, 2017
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Illegal to drive company truck without permission. (Switch to dry van.)
by: Hervy

It has nothing to do with Dr. No it is not illegal to drive due to your injury.

It is illegal to use it as your personal vehicle if the company told you to park it. Doesn't matter if you are living out of it. It's not your property. Living out of it is an extra benefit of being an OTR trucker.

For handling personal business or while on leisure time off or doing anything not authorized by the company (which would likely involve generating revenue for the company) you are personally responsible for.

YOu shouldn't even be running the truck at night sleeping in it if you are at home. You should be staying in a hotel. Unless of course you can get permission to do so.

I am sure you didn't want to hear all of that but just keeping it real with you. Put yourself in their shoes and think of someone driving your truck.

They run the risk of wrecking it (fault or not), running up miles, adding wear and tear, burning fuel. You might say you would let them do it, but if you were actually in that situation, you probably wouldn't.

That's not even taking into account the driver history, attitude, job performance, etc.

So it's OK for you to drive your own personal vehicle. You could even get a trucking job pulling a dry van if you don't know how long you are going to be out of tarping.

Good thing for you, Prime has all of those divisions. See about switching to dry van.

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