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I know truck drivers are tired and busy so I will cut to the chase here on this page. Cops can't wake you up when you're in the sleeper. Since federal law mandates all these rules governing our sleep time, law enforcement can not at the same time violate those very rules. Period.
This happened to me in November 2010 while I was sleeping when my partner was ticketed at a weigh station in Devine TX. The police forced me to wake up, get out of the sleeper, and show them ID under threat of arrest. In this case, I recorded both officers while it happened and I filed both state and federal civil rights complaints within a week. Less than one month later The Texas Department of Public Safety admitted wrongdoing in writing on behalf of the two officers. The admission letter, dated December 20, 2010 and signed by Captain Kenneth Plunk of the Waco Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, stated that "corrective action was needed" against both officers and that "additional training has been taken." I then filed a 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit against the troopers for damages, permanent injunction, and to dissuade them from continuing this blatantly illegal practice. One of the documents released in initial disclosures revealed an internal POLICE MEMO from TX DPS officially admitting that "The passenger is under no obligation to comply with request" for ID. If anyone is still confused about whether cops can wake you up in the sleeper, you're a lost cause. Goodbye. Everyone else, continue reading.
My civil suit, Hill v. Texas Department of Public Safety et al, is a 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Civil Rights Act case filed September fourth in the Fifth Circuit of Texas Federal Western District Court in San Antonio, Texas.
If anyone has been woken up illegally by cops and is not happy about it, the first thing to do is file an official complaint in writing on the specific form that the state or federal agency in question will provide for you. They are required to give you the form. Oftentimes cops will try to intimidate and/or discourage people from filing official complaints or they will ask you all the details of the complaint over the phone when you ask for the form. Do not fall for this. Jibbering on the phone doesn't even count as a complaint, much less on the record. You don't have to give your driver license number, birthdate, or social security number to them in order for them to mail you a a form. You are not required to give that info. Get the person's name you are speaking with and if necessary, demand to speak with their supervisor. Be calm, confident & matter-of-fact. After they mail you the form then spell it out simply what occurred and mail it back. Make copies of everything and save notes of times, dates, people you spoke with, etc. They will be required to respond and generally a complaint stays on the officers record for five years. Depending on the oucome of your complaint, you can then choose what to do from there. For example, here is how you file a complaint with the Texas Dept. of Public Safety.
Here is the transcript and the three videos of the original incident in my case: TRANSCRIPT & VIDEOS
Here is the Text of my official original complaint to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Here is the Summary of Hours-of-Service (HOS) Regulations Sleeper Berth Provision: "Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two."
More specifics on Hours of Service rules are here as seen in this screenshot from this FMCSA page.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes it very clear:
Amendment IVThere are also countless U.S. Supreme court cases which affirm the right of the people not to be ID'd by police without probable cause. Brown v. Texas is one of them. (more info on that below.) There is also an extensive list here.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
The feds have spent millions, possibly trillions of dollars, on studies outling the vital importance of UNDISTURBED SLEEP OF COMMERCIAL TRUCK DRIVERS. Nowhere do they say that it's okay or permissable to disturb that sleep just for a nice check for ID. Matter of fact they state the opposite, that disruptions of sleep are extremely bad with statistically fatal results. Here are a few of those links:
"Disruptions compromise both the quantity and quality of sleep and keep you from experiencing continuous, restorative sleep so necessary for performance, safety, and health."
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Interruptions to your sleep
The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has documented in theirmeticulous report Fighting Fatigue,
"One person's lack of sleep can contribute to another's lack of safety on the Nation's roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Senior Research Psychologist Jesse Blatt, fatigue and sleep deprivation contribute to about 100,000 police-reported highway crashes, causing more than 1,500 deaths annually in the United States. And the National Transportation Safety Board also has linked operator fatigue with a number of costly public incidents, including the Exxon Valdez grounding and the collision of subway trains on the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City."
INSURANCE INSTITUTE FOR HIGHWAY SAFETY: "IIHS further concludes "the fact that risk remained the same regardless of team status suggests that increased risk of fatality is associated with nonconsecutive sleep rather than disturbance from the motion of the truck while sleeping'' (Id., p. 11). [Hertz, R.P., "Tractor-Trailer Driver Fatality: The Role of Nonconsecutive Rest in a Sleeper Berth," Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, October 1987. Revised February 1988 http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/final/05-16498-HOS-Final-Rule-8-25-05.htm.]
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's extensive in-depth Commercial Motor Vehicle/Driver Fatigue and Alertness Study notes
"The Driver Fatigue and Alertness Study (DFAS) was the largest and most comprehensive over-the-road study ever conducted on driver fatigue and alertness in North America. It provides extensive information on the alertness, driving performance, and physiological and subjective states of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers as they perform real-life, revenue-generating trips. This Executive Summary overviews the objectives, methods, principal findings, and safety implications of this landmark 7-year study.
Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979)
In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Texas, a case where a man in Texas refused to show police ID because there was no probable cause. The court noted "he was arrested for violation of Tex.Penal Code Ann., Tit. 8, Section 38.02(a) (1974), which makes it a criminal act for a person to refuse to give his name and address to an officer "who has lawfully stopped him and requested the information." However, the court reversed his conviction:
"Held: The application of the Texas statute to detain appellant and require him to identify himself violated the Fourth Amendment because the officers lacked any reasonable suspicion to believe that appellant was engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct. Detaining appellant to require him to identify himself constituted a seizure of his person subject to the requirement of the Fourth Amendment that the seizure be "reasonable." Cf. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1; United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U. S. 873. The Fourth Amendment requires that such a seizure be based on specific, objective facts indicating that society's legitimate interests require such action, or that the seizure be carried out pursuant to a plan embodying explicit, neutral limitations on the conduct of individual officers. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U. S. 648. Here, the State does not contend that appellant was stopped pursuant to a practice embodying neutral criteria, and the officers' actions were not justified on the ground that they had a reasonable suspicion, based on objective facts, that he was involved in criminal activity. Absent any basis for suspecting appellant of misconduct, the balance between the public interest in crime prevention and appellant's right to personal security and privacy tilts in favor of freedom from police interference."
The court concluded "The application of Tex.Penal Code Ann., Tit. 8, Section 38.02 (1974), to detain appellant and require him to identify himself violated the Fourth Amendment because the officers lacked any reasonable suspicion to believe appellant was engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct. Accordingly, appellant may not be punished for refusing to identify himself, and the conviction is Reversed." [http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/443/47/case.html.]
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