A Boston truck driver was fired for refusing to violate truck safety regulations, but he is now getting a big payday, due to an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
NFI Interactive Logistics had assigned the truck driver to deliver a load of bottled water from Northborough MA to Jersey City NJ on Aug. 15, 2012. Due to a severe storm and flooded roads, the trip took several hours longer than normal. The driver did not think he had sufficient time to complete the delivery without violating federal hours of service rules.
He then delivered the load to a closer customer facility, but NFI objected. The company had another driver drive drive the load to Jersey City, and the truck driver was fired for insubordination.
The truck driver filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, which found that NFI had violated anti-retaliation provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. OSHA then ordered NFI to reinstate the driver and pay him $276,000 in back wages and damages.
According to OSHA, the driver found an effective way to get the job done in unusual circumstances that ensured public safety, and was fired for it. The law on this matter is clear: Drivers have every right to raise safety concerns to their employer, including refusal to break federal safety regulations, without fear of retaliation.
We applaud this safety-conscious truck driver for refusing to violate federal regulations on hours of service. Every commercial driver’s manual for each state stresses the importance of a truck driver not driving more than allowed by federal law in a given period.
Our Virginia truck crash lawyers are accustomed to reckless truck drivers causing serious and fatal accidents by acting negligently. We are glad to see that this truck driver not only refused to break the rules, but also that his employer has been ordered to pay him back pay and damages.
Shame on NFI Interactive Logistics for firing this conscientious truck driver in the first place. After all, driver fatigue causes a shocking 75% of big rig accidents. It is very important for all truck drivers to never drive more than they are legally allowed, and to take their driving duties as seriously as the above driver does.