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Let's say you are driving a truck for a company and the company regularly overloads that truck and knows they are overloading that truck. The person who has to drive that truck doesn't like this fact one bit but doesn't want to endanger his job by refusing to drive the truck. If this truck is in an accident and/or it is discovered that the truck is running over gross weight who is in trouble? The driver, the company, or both? I am in this situation and I am tired of it. It seems like my company doesn't care at all that they are violating the law. I know some will probably suggest getting another job but I would really like to stay here. Any Oregon specific information would be greatly appreciated.
"Funny" you should ask.
In addition to being a police officer , I am a Motor Carrier Enforcement officer ( DOT).
A neighboring dept had this happen in which an overloaded ( by 800 lbs) dump truck which also had bad brakes crashed after going down a steep hill ( there was also a 3/4 ton weight limit on this road ) which killed a mother and her young daughter and unjured 9 others. The driver knew it was overweight, so did the manager and the boss is ultimately repsonsible.
Regardless, you the driver are on the hook because you are driving. ANY violation on that vehicle is partly your responsibility. Of course the same goes for the company.
When I stop a company truck, I TYPICALLY cite the company for most equipment vio's. Not the driver. But depending on the circumstances, I may cite both.
You should consider which is more important, a potential lawsuit, criminal charges or your job. Nobody I ever met planned on being in an accident, they just happen.
Thanks for the info. I'm going to use this to see if the company will reconsider what it is doing. We are often hauling loads that really need to be put on a larger truck.
Maybe you could "accidentally" arrange to meet a DOT or Police Officer in advance.
If I received such a call from a frustrated driver, I woud be glad to do this and I would not cite the driver. I have had truck drivers pull in and ASK me to inspoect their company truck because they keep writing reapir orders but the company won't fix them. I always tell them that they have come to the right place. :)
03-09-04, 05:40 PM
In Oregon, the driver is cited for an overload violation. I have worked with ODOT, who does the portable weighing. They tell me the amount of overload and I write the cite. The cite goes to the driver and may cost several thousands of dollars, especially on bridges with low weight restrictions. I din't know if your company would volunteer to pay the hefy fine for you.
Where MLK transitions to McLoughlin Blvd headed southbound in Portland is a good example. The weight limit is 10,000 pounds, so no trucks with trailers are permitted. The driver is cited for every pound over 10,000.
If the inability of a driver to stop his truck is related to weight, the driver will be on the hook. But since you are driving for a company, you are covered under their insurance. Any civil penalties will probably be paid for by the company's insurance and you are automatically indemnified (unless they can show you were reckless and purposely disregarded company policy). However, if you are charged criminally, the company cannot do the time for you.
I know it is pretty popular in Oregon for trucks to travel overloaded. I have heard trucking companies say it is more profitable to send trucks through overloaded and pay the fine than to send out another truck.