Trucker claims he was fired for refusing to break downtime laws - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Trucker claims he was fired for refusing to break downtime laws

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

GASTON, SC (WIS) - The trucking industry is a critical component of the American economy. One estimate says 80 percent of nation's communities rely solely on trucks for fuel, medicine and other vital commodities.

But drivers of the big rigs have to follow rules set by the government, and a Gaston man says he lost his job when he refused to break those rules.

Victor Harris took a few minutes Thursday afternoon to play with a new addition to his family, but he has more time on his hands than he'd prefer. Until he lost his job this summer, Harris had spent seven years developing the considerable skills of a long haul trucker.

"It's really intimidating for a male or female to get behind something that big, and drive it at 65 miles per hour or better down the road, having a time limit to have to get there," said Harris.

Harris says it's not easy to make a living driving big rigs. He tried being an owner-operator, but that ended last year when his cab caught fire and burned up in the driveway of his home in Gaston.

The hours he says can be tough on a young family like his. "It's hard to do," said Harris. "There's just not enough hours in the day.

But Harris says it was even harder for him to cope with what he says was pressure from his employer to deliver cargo long distances on schedule and still comply with federal regulations that require all drivers to rest after being on the road for a certain number of hours.

Harris says a few months ago, the Columbia-based company he was driving for gave him an assignment that was impossible without violating the law. When he insisted on taking the legally required downtime, he was in effect laid off.

"The owners of the companies, they live in these big old houses," said Harris. "They drive the big cars. Everybody comes to work in $500 suits. But because I won't run 77 hours instead of 70 hours, I don't have a job."

Harris says many drivers face the same pressures to exceed legal limits or falsify their log books, a danger for them and others on the nation's highways. "90 percent of the truck drivers on the road right now are working with less than four hours of sleep, I'm going to be totally honest with you," said Harris. "Lot of accidents because truck drivers are pushing and pushing and pushing."

Harris is planning a lawsuit against his former employer. His attorney was not available to speak on camera, but said some of the practices her client describes are "rampant" in the trucking industry.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Montgomery abortion clinic failed to report 13-year-old patient

    Montgomery abortion clinic failed to report 13-year-old patient

    Friday, April 20 2018 5:16 PM EDT2018-04-20 21:16:51 GMT
    Reproductive Health Services, a Montgomery abortion clinic, failed to report a 13-year-old patient to the Department of Human Resources, according to an ADPH report. (Source: WSFA 12 News)Reproductive Health Services, a Montgomery abortion clinic, failed to report a 13-year-old patient to the Department of Human Resources, according to an ADPH report. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
    Reproductive Health Services, a Montgomery abortion clinic, failed to report a 13-year-old patient to the Department of Human Resources, according to an ADPH report. (Source: WSFA 12 News)Reproductive Health Services, a Montgomery abortion clinic, failed to report a 13-year-old patient to the Department of Human Resources, according to an ADPH report. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

    A Montgomery abortion clinic failed to report a patient who was 13 years old to the Department of Human Resources, according to a report from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

    More >>

    A Montgomery abortion clinic failed to report a patient who was 13 years old to the Department of Human Resources, according to a report from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

    More >>
  • Fire at Holly Hill scrap metal facility could last 2 to 3 days; no injuries reported

    Fire at Holly Hill scrap metal facility could last 2 to 3 days; no injuries reported

    Friday, April 20 2018 11:23 PM EDT2018-04-21 03:23:32 GMT
    Aerial footage of the fire at Don's Car Crushing in Holly Hill. (Picture provided)Aerial footage of the fire at Don's Car Crushing in Holly Hill. (Picture provided)

    Emergency crews are continuing to battle a large fire at a scrap metal dealer in Holly Hill. 

    More >>

    Emergency crews are continuing to battle a large fire at a scrap metal dealer in Holly Hill. 

    More >>
  • WATCH: Rare corpse flower blooming at Tucson Botanical Gardens

    WATCH: Rare corpse flower blooming at Tucson Botanical Gardens

    Friday, April 20 2018 7:11 PM EDT2018-04-20 23:11:50 GMT
    (Source: Tucson Botanical Gardens)(Source: Tucson Botanical Gardens)

    The Tucson Botanical Gardens, for the first time ever, will have a corpse flower bloom on property. 

    More >>

    The Tucson Botanical Gardens, for the first time ever, will have a corpse flower bloom on property. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly