A San Diego based truck driver Thomas R. Aylott
recently sued his former employer on claims that he was fired because of his refusal to text and drive.
Refusal to Text and Drive Causes Truck Driver to be Fired
Thomas R. Aylott
, 53, has sued Commodity Trucking Acquisition LLC of Fontana on allegations of age discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation for the employee’s refusal to break texting and driving
laws. He claims that the company’s managers retaliated against him and fired him because he refused to text while driving
According to U.S. Department of Transportation records, Commodity Trucking Acquisition, which does business as Dispatch Transportation, employs about 100 drivers.
was a project and safety manager for the company, a job which often required him to drive to different job sites. He lawsuit alleges he was twice scolded by his manager for not reading or responding to his manager’s texts while driving for work
As the lawsuit alleges, Aylott’s manager told him he should text and drive “like everyone else.”
When Aylott refused and complained to upper management he was fired. The lawsuit alleges he was retaliated against because his refusal to text and drive showed he was “too old to change (his) ways.”
John F. Sullivan III, Commodity Trucking’s chief operating and financial officer, believes statement Aylott is a disgruntled employee
, and that the allegations made in the lawsuit don’t appear to support his claims.
“After a preliminary investigation it appears the allegations in the complaint have no merit,” Sullivan said. “The company has a strict cell-phone use policy which includes the restriction of texting and driving
Additionally, Sullivan denied texting and driving was required of its employees. In fact, “Due to the nature of our business and our commitment to safety, this policy in monitored and enforced on a daily basis,” Sullivan said. “The company is confident that when it gets its day in court the facts will prove that the company did nothing wrong.”
Aylott’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, punitive damages, court costs and attorney’s fees, and other damages according to proof.
Handling Traffic Violations Like Text and Drive
Minor and serious traffic violations are a part of our driving society and happen every day. You should know how to protect yourself from them, as well as how to legally protect yourself if you are facing serious charges.
The term “traffic violation” covers a wide variety of incidents. The main purpose that traffic violations are so closely regulated is to prevent unsafe driving while also educating and teaching bad drivers. As has been shown by years of research and proven facts, most people tend to be compliant with these regulations because they believe there is a chance they could be caught. This compliance often decreases when people perceive they will be able to get away with breaking the law. Below we outline what some of these traffic violations are and what you need to do if you face charges.
Moving Violations And Non-Moving Violations
A moving violation ticket can be issued whenever a traffic law is violated by a vehicle in motion. Examples include: speeding, failure to yield, running a stop sign or red light, and drunk driving. Non-moving violation tickets can be issued for parking infringements or faulty equipment. Examples include: parking in a no parking zone, parking in front of a fire hydrant, broken tail-lights, and excessive muffler noise.
How Traffic Tickets Are Processed
Most jurisdictions view the majority of traffic tickets as minor offenses, often called “infractions,” that only require you to pay administrative processing fees. Thus, they are not considered to be criminal cases, and you will not besubject to incarceration or large fines. You also will not be required to go to jury trial.
It should be noted that fines for speeding tickets, and unpaid speeding tickets can be very large and often times will require you to go before a jury trial. It’s important to know that the majority of traffic tickets are issued for what is termed a “strict-liability” offense, which means a person can be convicted regardless of if there is criminal intent or not. The only proof needed is that the person committed the act. Strict-liability offenses include:
- Not using turn signals
- Failing to yield to other traffic
- Turning into the wrong lane
Some traffic violations are considered more serious than small infractions and are considered serious traffic violations. These violations can be charged as misdemeanor crimes or felonies. Examples include the following.
Reckless Driving And Excessive Speeding
A person can be convicted of reckless driving if he or she drives with “willful or wanton” disregard for the safety of others [California Vehicle Code 23103]. Being charged with reckless driving is a criminal offense. If convicted of this, it will be included on a criminal record, your driver’s license may be suspended, and you could be sentenced to serve time in county jail. To be convicted, the prosecution will need to prove you were driving with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. While speed alone is typically not enough to establish willful or wanton disregard, speeding while weaving in and out of traffic, driving aggressively, driving on the wrong side of the road, or engaging in other highly dangerous acts, means you could be found guilty of reckless driving.
Driving Without insurance
If you have been caught driving without insurance, you could face some very heavy violation including suspension of your driver’s license and/or vehicle license. You can also receive a traffic ticket. Depending on the officer and the location you were pulled over, you might be able to have the ticket dismissed if you can prove you have insurancewithin a certain time period following the date of when you received the citation. This typically only applies if you actually have insurance, but for some reason do not have your insurance card with you. You might also face hefty fines for not having your insurance proof, or if you do not have insurance at all.
Driving Without a License
When it comes to driving without a license, there are two categories you could fall into: correctable offenses and willful violations. A correctable offense could mean you simply forgot to take your driver’s license with you. This is typically treated with a “fix-it” ticket in which you must later show proof that you have a valid license. A willful violation carries much more serious consequences and occurs when a person is driving on a suspended or revoked license. Oftentimes licenses are suspended or revoked due to DUI and other moving violation offenses.
If you are found guilty of willfully driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license you can be cited, arrested, and charged with a misdemeanor offense. In California, this violation can also result in: your car being impounded for 30 days and having to appear in court.
Being Charged with a Serious Traffic Violation
If you have been accused of a serious traffic violation, you should know you areentitled to all constitutional protections provided to criminal defendants, including the right to a court-appointed attorney and a jury trial. At the Law Offices of Sevens Legal, APC, we help Southern California drivers who face driver’s license suspension or problems renewing a license due to multiple traffic violations or especially serious offenses.
Avoiding Traffic Violations
Just because serious traffic violations happen often, that doesn’t mean they can’t be avoided or prevented. Below are some tips on how to be a good and cautious driver.
Tips for Safe Driving
Here are some precautions to take to ensure good driving habits:
- Be cautious and alert.
- Practice extra precaution when approaching streets or busy intersections.
- Be extra aware of any pedestrians that might be entering the road or on the road (running or bicyclists).
- If driving at night, make sure all of your headlights and tail-lights are working, and that you are clearly visible to other cars and other people you are sharing the road with.
- Make sure your car is properly maintained. This includes frequent brake, light, and engine checks.
- Pay special attention when entering or exiting parking lots. In most of these cases you will need to cross a sidewalk to enter. This might mean there are pedestrians crossing in the way of the car.
- Follow posted speed limits.
- Avoid distractions including texting, phone calls, or reaching for things in your car.
What To Do If You Are Pulled Over
If you are pulled over, there are some things you can do to help your position in challenging the ticket.
When you first see a police car following you with its emergency lights flashing and siren blaring, use your indicator and safely pull over to the right side of the road. Remember that the officer will be coming to the right side of the car, so ensure that he or she has enough room to stand by your car safely. This shows the officer you are compliant, but also stopping as soon as possible means you will have a good idea of where the infraction happened. This means you’ll be able to return to the same area later to record the details, including what the posted speed limits are, where the turn occurred, etc.
Next, roll your window down all the way. Turn off the engine, and place your hands on the steering wheel. If it’s night-time, turn on your interior light. An officer wants to feel as safe as possible walking up to your car. Show them you are respectful for this. Do not reach into your back pocket for your wallet, or into your glove compartment for your registration, until the officer asks you for them. There have been incidents where people posing as police officers have pulled over innocent people. If you fear this is the case, ask to see the officer’s photo identification along with his badge. You can also ask for the officer to call a supervisor to the scene or request that you be allowed to follow the officer to a police station. A police officer cannot search your vehicle unless you give them probable cause by either hiding or throwing something under the seat or out your window. Any movement you do while a police officer approaches the car could give them cause to want to search your car.
Additionally, if an officer has reasonable suspicion that you might be armed or dangerous, they are allowed to frisk you. Additionally, a police officer can seize any illegal objects, such as open beers or drug paraphernalia, in your car that are in “plain view.” If you or any or the car’s occupants are arrested for probable cause, the officer might also search the car. This can also be done if the car is towed.
A police officer is allowed to make an “inventory search” afterward, even if they had no initial reason to suspect there is anything illegal inside.
Working with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Sevens Legal, APC, we represent drivers of all kinds in the traffic courts of Southern California. We also advise drivers with commercial licenses who need help with violations ranging from speeding to DUI.Our law firm offers free consultations and flexible payment plans for drivers whose traffic violation problems have gotten out of hand. To discuss how our Los Angeles traffic violation lawyers can help you manage your traffic fines and resolve license suspension problems. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800