Can my employer fire me for breaking hours of service?
by Brian Green
The company I work for is more of a grocery distribution company than a long hauler. For years drivers rarely followed the hours of service regulations. We always told each other if you were tired you sleep and we never drove on each other's time!
In doing so we went years without having any accidents! Lately another warehouse had a bad accident and someone died! Now we have the company doing everything from installing cameras to hiring tons of these "safety" coordinators to spot check us!
Every driver here is now exhausted and our accident ratio is through the roof! I told my boss I didn't care what the law was and that I would rather explain my violations to a judge rather than getting killed behind the wheel!
The policy with my company was that if you were caught breaking the hours of service regs you got written up, a second time it happens within six months and you are fired! Now the rule is that you are fired the first time!
My question is, can my boss really fire me for hours of service violations even though following them is going to put me in danger? I thought only DOT could enforce the law on regulations of a motor vehicle on the highway?