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#192292 - 12/31/09 05:42 PM Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs...
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
My company just installed a GPS in my work van (Chev Suburban). This is no little handheld unit, the keyboard sits right between the front seats, and there are wires and 'things' all over.

Right after this thing was installed, I had to go to a pickup site that requires me to unlock a gate. I have to park on a slope to get my tail off the road, so I always put it in park and set the emergency brake (I am unlocking a cranky lock, standing between the solid metal barrier gate and the front of the Suburban). eek

This time, I lifted my foot to engage the emergency brake, and something was in the way. I turn on the interior light and can't believe what they've done. They have mounted a large (2" wide) plug on a 1/4" cable directly over the emergency brake.

The only way to use the brake is to turn on the interior light so I can see what I'm doing, press the bit of brake that is still exposed with my toe until I get it down far enough to slide my foot under the new plug, and then press it down to engage it.

Does this sound like a good idea to you??? I am often working around poorly maintained roads, turning around in precarious areas with almost sheer drop-offs, etc. If I need that brake in a hurry, I can't use it as it is. My lead driver said all the vehicles are set up that way, everyone has complained, and the company just ignores it. As usual, they will wait until a driver has an accident, then fire the driver and send out endless memos to micro-manage a problem they caused themselves.

Question: If I caught a State Patrol officer who wasn't busy, and asked him to look at it, do you think I could get him to write me a 'fix-it ticket' or something?

Any other solutions from anyone would be very welcome. Just be aware that this company is the vindictive type.



#192296 - 12/31/09 06:51 PM Re: Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs... [Re: Susan]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Sounds as though the company you work for has severely compromised the working safety of the vehicles you are using commercially. Do you have anything like the UK Health and Safety Executive HSE in the US, that can investigate the issue.

Also if an emailed digital photograph from an anonymous source of the vehicle alterations was to somehow make its way to the insurance company and/or the vehicle manufacturer, you will probably find that these alterations will be removed very very quickly once the company management receive a letter stating that the vehicle alterations will void not only their insurance but also the vehicle warranty and that there may even be criminal liability (let alone void their public limited liability insurance, for which they will be personally responsible for) i.e even potential manslaughter charges against the management officials who authorized and compromised the vehicles safety in such away if an accident was to occur.

Remember though that no one likes a grass or whistle blower and that you may have to be somewhat sneeky about flagging up the situation. i.e there is no crumb trail back to yourself.

Has the issue been escalated to a Union representative for example.

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (12/31/09 07:15 PM)

#192317 - 01/01/10 02:09 AM Re: Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs... [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
pforeman Offline

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 86
Loc: Iowa
As an ex LEO... I would not recommend the ticket route. While it may work and you could find a friendly cop/deputy/trooper to write you an "unsafe equipment" type of ticket it may or may not solve the problem. It would also be you that is the "problem" and could backfire with a paranoid company.

However an organization like OSHA or the company Insurance provider would have all kinds of heart failure about a situation that you are describing. A good attorney could turn your situation into a "bankrupt the company lawsuit" if somebody gets hurt with this set-up. The State you are in should also have an OSHA type of organization that you could (and should) contact about this "unsafe work environment".

Most times there is a safe and anonymous way to notify the OSHA office (state or federal) of these situations. They then send out somebody to check it out or at least contact the company with a sort of what's going on call - not necessarily you or your rig but in general and thus the company is "busted" with this poor and unsafe set-up and you are not directly involved.

There may be better ways but that's what I would try... Good luck and no matter what, stay safe and don't take chances.

#192326 - 01/01/10 04:54 AM Re: Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs... [Re: pforeman]
Desperado Offline

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Some states do not have a citation for "Unsafe Equipment", rather they impound the vehicle on the spot.
Sure wouldn't be fun walking back to the house....

Also, it is the operator's (read you, Sue) responsibility not to engage in the operation of an unsafe vehicle. Since that is the case, the citation and resulting fines are YOUR problem not the company's.

Same goes with uninsured vehicles. In 2001 the fine here was about $500.00. I know this because my employer had not kept up with the Registration, and the Insurance.

I was out an even grand paying the two citations, and court costs.
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.


#192335 - 01/01/10 01:20 PM Re: Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs... [Re: Susan]
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
OSHA, NHTSB would be where I start.

Anonymous, effective.

#192372 - 01/01/10 07:09 PM Re: Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs... [Re: Susan]
epirider Offline

Registered: 12/03/05
Posts: 232
Loc: Wyoming, USA
I am not sure about Vermont, but most of the states I know of have yearly vehicle inspections for emmisions, broken windshields - unsafe items in general. I vehicle inspection sticker could EASILY "fall off or something" and need replaced. Take it in there and "ask them to set the brake". If they deem it unsafe - there you go. It may take a little "poor me being an female in distress and it is just like a hero to save me" routine to get it done. But hey, if you can pull it off - go for it. Just a thought.
A government big enough to give you everything you want,
is strong enough to take everything you have.
Thomas Jefferson

#192380 - 01/01/10 08:37 PM Re: Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs... [Re: NightHiker]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Thanks for all the tips, guys! I guess the fixit-ticket may not be the best way.

But now I have some other options to check out.

Thanks again!


#192393 - 01/02/10 12:05 AM Re: Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs... [Re: Susan]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2810
Also do not rely on that "emergency" brake. If you check the owners manual of any vehicle made in the last 15-20 years they all call it a parking brake because its not strong enough to really be used as an emergency brake.

#192407 - 01/02/10 02:55 AM Re: Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs... [Re: Eugene]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 842
Loc: Colorado
What happens if you forget and stamp on the brake pedal just like always? Will the wiring have to be repaired in a way that doesn't interfere with proper operation of the vehicle? (hint, hint)

#192409 - 01/02/10 03:07 AM Re: Calling all LEOs and ex-LEOs... [Re: unimogbert]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2580
Loc: Alberta, Canada
+1. When your BS alarm goes off, vote with your feet. whistle

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