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Trucker Labor Dispute Drags On

Truckers heading through Tulare and Delano to Los Angeles and Long Beach may find themselves caught up in a national labor dispute.

Thousands of truckers haul goods from port facilities to surface transportation hubs, but even though they are hauling for a transportation company, they are not that company’s legal employees. Increasingly, drivers are taking these matters to court (the California Labor Board has fielded some 800 complaints in the last five years), where many judges have ruled in favor of drivers.

Most operators only drive for one company, and according to Nick Weiner, leader of Justice for Port Drivers, there is “no functional difference” between employees and independent owner-operators.

SMS Scores

Labor law is just one area of concern for California truckers. In addition to these regulations, they must adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Management System plan. The government looks at seven areas to determine SMS scores, including:

  • Vehicle Maintenance: Any mechanical defect, even dirty reflectors or slightly worn tires, causes the score to go up.
  • Unsafe Driving: All moving violations, including speeding and unsafe lane changes, fall into this category.
  • Crash Indicator: At-fault accidents remain on the SMS score for at least twenty-four months, in most cases.

The other areas are alcohol and substance abuse, hazardous materials transportation, driver fitness, and hours of service.

The government typically relies on law enforcement to transmit SMS data. So, if a driver gets a speeding ticket, hires an attorney, and the attorney gets the charges reduced to coasting, the ticket may still show up on the SMS report. An attorney can correct these errors and keep your score low. That’s important because the FMCSA can take adverse action based on SMS score, up to and including license suspension.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.