Fired Today For Something I Wasn’t Guilty Of

Topic 33832 | Page 1

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Paul C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey guys, new to the site and I’m in need of feedback. It’s a long one so bear with me. Yesterday, while driving in ct on 91, I was pulled over for a level 3 inspection. Nothing was wrong, that checked out, but the DOT officer told me he pulled me over for me not having my seatbelt visible. So, he gave me a seat belt violation on the inspection report.

I am 100 percent positive it was on because when I was getting pulled over I immediately asked myself all the usuals of why would I be getting pulled over, and realized right away my seat belt was on and fastened correctly. I’m aware, as most of us are at this point, you’re better off getting an actual citation/ticket than what I received. I expressed this to the officer and of course he didn’t care, and gave me the inspection report with the violation and instructed me to turn it into my company immediately.

I went on and completed my deliveries contacted my DM and explained the situation to him. Here’s where this story gets dark. I arrived at work today handed him the inspection report and wasn’t really even concerned about it. I went to my truck, did pre trip, and went to trailer yard to grab load. It was then I realized the gravity of the situation. My DM called and said I could not drive today. I was instructed to park the vehicle, go home, and wait for a call from safety.

They called me an hour later and terminated my employment. Of course it’s shocking, and I’m currently having an outer body experience with anxiety. I’m very much concerned I will be unhireable. My employer, for whom I have always been nothing but a model employee, dumped me just like that. We didn't even have a discussion into it.

This situation the DOT has with seatbelt violations is insane. I have been driving for 10 years with a perfect driving record with zero, and I do mean zero, infractions to speak of. Again, this was a normal work day. I did everything right and legal and a DOT officer can pull me over, give me a level three, then violate you for a suspicion of not wearing a seat belt.

Poof, just like that you’re life can change. What I’m asking for here is any input on my hireability. What will go on my record and any thoughts on the matter. Sorry for the long post guys, but what has transpired in the last 24 hours is such an injustice. What’s worse is that it’s not a fine. I can’t even contest it. Some DOT cop really ****ed my life up and put me and my family in real financial trouble.

Thanks, and watch out for this DOT money grab tactic that will change you’re life overnight.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
BK's Comment
member avatar

Hello Paul. Sorry for your situation and what happened. Bummer.

It would be helpful for you to supply more info about yourself. Where do you live? What type of driving do you do? And assuming you will be looking for another job, what type of job/driving will you be looking for? What was your company?

Another thing. Did your truck have an inside facing camera that could prove you were wearing a seatbelt?

To be honest, I really am at a loss as to what to tell you right now. Probably some other members will have some good advice for you about this situation. So the more info you supply, the better the advice will be. In the meantime, hang in there. You sound like you will be able to deal with this and end up with another job. Just make sure we have the entire story, good and bad.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

For exactly this reason, all prime trucks have a bright orange seat belt that cant be missed and we are told not to unhook it or reach for anything until the officer approaches.

It sounds like you are local? I would just apply everywhere. See who bites. With no other issues, you will find something but it may not be exactly what you want. Unfortunately, all the emoloyer can do to help would be to put "rehireable" on your DAC. Perhaps ask them if they would. It looks better than the opposite.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

You can contest this through dataq. It’s basically a review by the fed’s to determine if it should stand or not. If you prove your case then it is removed.

Alot of employers have a zero tolerance on seatbelts and hand held devices. Those usually result from you receiving a citation though.

If the company has/had driver facing cameras then this is a no brainer, however if they don’t then it’s pretty much your word against the officers.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Paul, and welcome to our forum!

I'm not sure I can be a lot of help, but I do want to address some of what you say here. I have a gut feeling my comments may be more helpful to others who learn from your experience, but I am hoping that maybe some of it will resonate with you too.

First off there is a lot here. It is challenging to unpack it all, but I want to take a stab at some of the parts of your story that stand out to me.

Maybe it's because I don't actually have any experience with you and am not familiar with how you express yourself, but you sound over the top with anxiety. You even referred to this affecting you like an "out of body" experience. That is odd - really odd!

Look, I get that you are anxious about your family and their financial needs. Typically that type of anxiety should drive a person to action rather than despair. When I was raising children, I wanted to make sure they were provided for, so I did things like save money whenever I could. I knew that I might need that money to help us get through a disaster like you are experiencing. I hope you have prepared somewhat for a catastrophe like you are going through, but I certainly don't know why you would be having "out of body" like anxiety if you had.

Do you generally have high anxiety? Are you taking any medications for it? Has it affected any of your relationships at work? Are you normally easy to get along with and function well within the confines and relationships you have at this job? Is it possible they wanted to get rid of you for some reason you are not sharing with us?

The story you share sounds implausible to me, but only for the reason that you say they fired you with no discussion about the matter. I have a lot of experience with trucking jobs and have seldom ever heard when a safety manager is not willing to hear your side of the story and discuss it with you. That is what is bizarre to me about your experience.

Let's talk about your seat belt. I don't know what really happened here, but it sounds to me like the officer was very careful with his choice of words when he told you why he pulled you over. According to your post he never really said you weren't wearing your seat belt. You tell us this...

he pulled me over for me not having my seatbelt visible.

Let me stress something about getting pulled over in a big rig. You should never take your seat belt off. You leave it on the whole time you are talking with the officer. The only time I am going to remove my seatbelt is if the officer requests that I get out of the truck. Then I am going to announce something like this to him, "Yes officer, I'm going to take my seatbelt off now and exit the truck."

Make sure he is paying attention to you and that he sees you removing the belt. That is just common practice that truck drivers know and do in a situation like this. It avoids things like this causing such undue stress.

What this officer said is that you didn't have your seatbelt "visible." That is usually language implying you weren't wearing it properly. You cannot take that shoulder strap and tuck it up under your armpit so that it is not making your shoulder uncomfortable. That is typically what this type language refers to. Could you have been driving like that? If so, you got caught.

I don't have any knowledge of how your company operates, but I can tell you that I would have not even bothered my DM with this. My first call would be with the safety manager at my terminal. He would have been more than happy to discuss it, and we would probably have gotten it settled in a few minutes. Maybe he would want me to stop by and talk further, but we would have some sort of resolution established so that I could keep taking care of my business.

Having no discussion is really bizarre, and it seems so odd that it makes me think they had multiple other issues with you, but there is no way for us to know that. After all, you tell us...

I have been driving for 10 years with a perfect driving record with zero, and I do mean zero, infractions to speak of. Again, this was a normal work day. I did everything right and legal.

This is what is so puzzling about your story. Drivers like that don't just get canned without some discussion. I don't know what it is, and I can only assume you don't either. There is something missing here. If you don't know what it is, or if you aren't willing to share it, we probably can't really get to the real problem. Without knowing what really is the problem, we aren't psychic enough to provide a solution.

You are obviously very upset, I get that, but I'm not sure you can refer to this as a DOT "money grab." You said there was no citation and no fine. So it was hardly a money grab that we need to be watching out for.

This came about because of your seatbelt. You weren't wearing it properly, or you removed it before the officer came to your truck window. I would take this as a lesson in learning how to deal with officers. There is a proper way to encounter them and protect your rights while doing so. You can also learn how to deal with them in a manner that will help you avoid action on their part.

I hope you can find employment. I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to do so. It may take some extra effort right now, but if your record is as perfect as you claim, you already have a leg up on most applicants. Relax and move forward.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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