A company’s thirst for profits with little regard for the employee’s welfare has always been problematic. Scores of extremely fatigued employees work daily for companies that only care for their bottom lines. This poses a danger not only to the employees’ well-being but to the general populace, as well. Trucking companies, for one, are notorious for dispatching drivers to work unreasonable hours without enough sleep. The result: hundreds of impaired drivers on the streets and senseless deaths.
Personal injury attorney, Peter Zneimer finds it alarming that despite federal safety regulations in place to prohibit trucking companies from pushing drivers to work without adequate sleep, a significant number of accidents still occur because of this foul practice. USA Today conducted an investigation on several trucking companies and the investigation unearthed dreadful data proving just how much trucking companies take advantage of their employees for their own gains. Their research showed that 470 trucks serving the ports in the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas operated nonstop without the requisite and federally-mandated full 10-hour break. The harmful effects of sleep deprivation go beyond bleary-eyed days and irritability—it costs lives. One such incident that occurred in August 2013 cost the life of a teenager and injured seven people.
A Mr. Jose Juan Rodriguez who used to work for Morgan Southern for five years would be on the road for 16-hour shifts, with a bucket of ice by his seat to splash on his face whenever he felt himself slipping away behind the wheel. Extreme cases of sleep deprivation cause cognitive impairments, affecting the memory, performance and alertness. It is crippling when you have to commute to work but to be the operator of a vehicle working 15 hours straight is reckless. The reality is most of these truck drivers are under pressure to meet deadlines and/or to pay their debts to their own employers under their lease-to-own programs. Many of them are trapped and are forced to work unforgiving shifts. The lawyers of Zneimer and Zneimer, P.C. applaud the fact that Electronic log devices are now required to be installed in commercial trucks to prevent violations of federal rules but it is uncertain how many trucking companies have complied since the enforcement in December 2017.