What Is Forced Dispatch in a Truck Accident Claim?
Forced dispatch is a dangerous trend that increases the potential for accidents that cause serious injuries and deaths to drivers and other motorists. Trucking companies are using debt and threats of job loss to force drivers to stay on the road, even when fatigue, illness, or mechanical problems may be raising their risk for accidents. The pressure to take loads, no matter the risk, has caused an increasing number of drivers to operate their commercial vehicles unsafely.
Trucking Companies Forcing Drivers to Dispatch
Forced dispatch is a growing trend among today’s trucking companies. It occurs when a driver is not able or willing to take a trip, but the dispatch or trucking company finds a way to insist that the driver does take the load.
In the case of port truckers investigated in Los Angeles, loads are often forced on drivers through the risk of job loss. These drivers, many of whom have limited English-speaking abilities, use their income to lease-to-own their trucks through their trucking companies. If they lose their jobs because they refuse to drive, they lose their income and also their trucks. To avoid this situation, drivers will take the job, even when they feel it is unsafe to do so.
FMCSA Working to Make Forced Dispatch Illegal
Because of the safety issues created by a culture of forced dispatch, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has brought forth a rule that makes it illegal to force drivers to drive against their will. Drivers are now allowed to refuse to take a job because their vehicle is malfunctioning, they are up against hours of service regulations, they are ill, they are tired, or they are experiencing another issue that makes it unsafe to drive. Trucking companies cannot retaliate against truckers for refusing to take a load. Any adverse action affecting the driver’s income, hours on the road, or job status can be considered retaliation. Carriers that are found guilty of forcing drivers in spite of the rule will face significant fines of up to $16,000. They can also lose their operating authority.
Although it is unlawful to coerce a driver to get back on the road against his will, coercion is still happening. When truckers or other motorists are injured because of forced dispatch, they have the right to seek financial compensation from trucking companies, dispatch companies, and their insurers.
Workers can file complaints against trucking companies for forced dispatch by contacting the FMCSA by either calling their number or filling out a form on their website. Truckers filing a complaint should be prepared to share ELOGS, and a clear message stating why the load is being refused. If the complaint is found valid, the FMCSA will take action against the company for attempting forced dispatch.
Why Do Trucking Companies Use Forced Dispatch?
Trucking companies often attempt to use forced dispatch as a way of increasing profit, and things such as increased gas prices, driver shortages, and overhead costs reduces profitability. Trucks are an important part of the supply chain, without them, a majority of deliveries would be impossible to make. Because of this, companies are often forced to maximize trips and employ methods such as back hauling.
Why Should Truckers Avoid Forced Dispatch?
Driving a large commercial truck is a serious responsibility. An accident with a truck can cause severe injury or even death for the victim. It is important to make sure you are well rested, feeling well, and that your vehicle is running properly before taking any loads. Taking a load when tired, ill, or suffering from mechanical problems can lead to an accident down the road.
Consulting a Truck Accident Lawyer can help injured individuals navigate their legal options and pursue the appropriate compensation they deserve.