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Improving Truck Driver Safety in Seattle

Improving Truck Driver Safety in Seattle

Seattle, Washington has some of the best regional and over the road trucking companies in the world. The area has an abundance of highly regarding truck driver schools that provide Seattle with an abundance of qualified CDL drivers.

This makes for great business for Seattle and it makes a great hub for transport and shipping in the port area. Crucial to maintaining this success and the reputation of the industry is the safety record of the trucking companies in Seattle.

With so many Tacoma trucking schools in the Seattle area, there are plenty of drivers, but are they all safe drivers? The companies in Seattle need to be able to depend on their drivers and their safety on the roads. They need to know that their reputations and their financial futures are in good hands when their drivers take to the road.

How do the best trucking companies in the Seattle-Tacoma Port keep their companies on safe, legal and reputable grounds? They depended on their drivers, not only to be safe themselves but to make sure the other truck drivers on the roads with them were also safe.

How Drivers can Report Safety Issues on the Road

Seattle truck drivers have both the obligation and the right to report any violations of federal and state regulations and unsafe driving. It’s vital for the safety of all on the road that drivers are willing to do so. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA is the agency responsible for enforcing and policing these regulations. They depend on the drivers to self-regulate.

There is a process that drivers can follow in order to fulfill this responsibility to both the federal and state regulators. There are many regulations and laws drivers need to follow and to encourage fellow drivers to do the same.

First in the state of Washington

  • There are many regulations regarding the size, weight, height, length, and width of a truckload in state law. Special permits are needed in the city of Seattle to carry oversized loads. Companies need to acquire the permits, but drivers need to live with the size regulations and exceptions.
  • It’s also important that any driver knowing of an unsafe load report it so that other drivers and auto drivers on the road are not in danger.
  • Washington state also expects drivers to know the weight limits of roads and bridges and their truck’s weight. They are expected to avoid bridges where their load would be too heavy and could cause damage or an accident.
  • Drivers are also expected to do the same with height regulations on bridges and to check those actual heights along their routes.

For Federal regulations drivers are expected to report unsafe driving, oversized loads not clearly marked, or even discrimination and service issues that violate regulations and laws. They can do this by taking the following steps.

  1. File a formal complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA. This is relevant if you have experienced discrimination, harassment, or coercion to get you to violate regulations, especially those dealing with hours of service limits, drug, and alcohol testing rules, and CDL regulations. You can file at their website. The FMCSA will begin an investigation.
  • Call the Department of Transportation DOT – on the federal level.  Service, safety or discrimination violations from a company, including yours, should be reported immediately. Especially if those violations put or keep unsafe drivers, vehicles or companies on the road. You can call them anytime Monday through Friday from 8-8 EST. DOT will then begin their own investigation.
  • File a complaint with OSHA as a “Whistleblower” – If you are afraid to report safety or hours of service violations because you fear retribution from your employer, then this is the choice you will want to make. Within OSHA – the Federal Occupational, Safety and Health Administration there is a whistleblower provision. This allows you to report violations by your employer to FMCSA or DOT and it is then illegal for your company to retaliate against you. Of course, some companies still will do so, but this law means there are consequences for them if they do and protections for you.

OSHA is charged with enforcing this part of the law. Once you file this complaint OSHA will act quickly to interview you, get the facts and open their investigation. If they find that you have been retaliated against they will take the case to a judge and ask that specific remedies be granted. You should file your whistleblower complaint with both the federal OSHA and your state OSHA office. You must file this complaint no later than 30 days after the retaliatory action was instituted by your employer.

You can see that all three of these remedies are concerned with safety on the road, hours of service by the drivers, CDL training in Tacoma, drug, and alcohol testing and drivers being pushed into unsafe situations by employers or customers.

Drivers can help keep their company safe, their company’s reputation and safety record unblemished by following the rules themselves and reporting any violations of these regulations.