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A Kern County trucking company must make accommodations for not only disabled employees, but also the dependents of disabled employees, according to the California Second District Court of Appeal.

In Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., a trucker told his supervisor when he was first hired that he needed early shifts to tend to his son in the afternoon, who required dialysis treatments, and everything was fine for a while. But when a new supervisor took over, he moved Mr. Castro-Ramirez to later shifts, and fired him because he refused to accept them.

The court basically created a duty for companies to accommodate employees in Tulare County who have caregiver responsibilities, thus expanding California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).


In addition to the expanding state oversight over truckers, there is also the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s web of regulations to deal with. Chief among them is the Safety Measurement System, which is an objective way to keep track of trucker safety in much the same way as the drivers’ license points system. However, in addition to adverse action like license suspension, a high SMS score also generally means high insurance rates, because insurance companies often use the SMS score to assess risk.

In terms of moving violations, the SMS score tracks several areas that include:

  • Crash history,

  • Inspection violations, and

  • Traffic tickets.

The FMCSA usually uses law enforcement data to update the SMS score, which can be bad news for drivers. Assume you get a speeding ticket, and a lawyer either gets the case thrown out or gets the charges reduced to coasting or another non-point infraction. That speeding ticket may still show up on the SMS score, even though it was dismissed.

An attorney can keep an eye on your score and keep it as low as possible, to save you money and keep you on the road.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.Court Extends Duty

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