Team driver to law enforcement: ‘Don’t wake me up’

Martin Hill | June 21, 2013

The feds are enacting even more restrictive rules effective July 1 under the pretext of the importance of rest. Yet the truth is that under the false pretext of law enforcement, police officers and DOT inspectors, as well as immigration checkpoint officers at internal warrantless checkpoints, are blatantly violating not only state and federal law, but violating DOT/FMCSA sleep rules and the 4th Amendment, waking up drivers in sleeper berths every day across the country.

This applies to team operations when the driver is driving and the sleeper is trying to get  his/her much-needed rest.

Millions of dollars have been spent in the quest to ensure safe driving and road conditions for commercial drivers. Many in-depth studies have been done on this vital matter. And you certainly understand that many truckers are already tired, and many of them don’t have the knowledge, wherewithal, time, energy or resources to fight a legal battle. They are intimidated by police, and although they don’t like it, many just do what they’re told. No one wants to be arrested and jailed, have their truck impounded, or get fired from their job because they failed to wake up for a police officer’s illegal order. So the problem escalates.

However, waking a passenger in the sleeper berth for nothing more than an ID check is a clear and egregious violation of the 4th Amendment as well as state and federal laws.

This happened to me in 2010 when my partner was ticketed at a weigh station in Devine, Texas. The police forced me to wake up, get out of the sleeper, and show them ID under threat of arrest. In this case, both officers were videotaped and the Texas Department of Public Safety admitted wrongdoing in writing on behalf of the two officers only one month after an internal affairs complaint was filed against the officers in November 2010. The admission letter, dated December 20, 2010, stated that “corrective action was needed” against both officers and that “additional training has been taken.”

I then filed a civil-rights suit against the troopers to dissuade them from continuing this blatantly illegal practice. One of the documents released in initial disclosures revealed that the Texas Troopers officially admitted that “the passenger is under no obligation to comply with request” for ID. As I stated, this is not complicated. 

On a personal note, I am a devout Roman Catholic and a Constitutionalist. I think it’s an outrage and disgrace that these power-abusing officers wake up decent people “because they have the badge and the gun,” as one of them put it to me in my case. And that’s the nicest way I can put it. (Trust me, it’s not always easy to be polite.) Personally, for me this is not only a safety issue, a health concern and a legal issue, it is also, first and foremost, a distinctively moral issue. –Martin Hill, La Verne, Calif.,

  • No Reform

    You are SO right…these cops get away with Murder behind their gunand badge “authority”…Roadside/cop Justice prevails outside of camera range….I hope you sue and WIN Millions…….they have overstepped their boundaries and are stepping on American Trucker’s Rights…then they laugh about it with their cop pals and High Five…they are gestapo.

  • martymarsh

    Mr Hill, right on the money, we need more like you.
    These cops are nothing but over paid glorified meter maids, that their only quest in life is to get your money out of you regardless of how.

  • No Reform

    Those Cops parade around inside the Weigh Station that look like Gestapo Castles with cameras everywhere…and they act like GUARDS in San Quentin….American Truckers are viewed as PRISONERS.

  • TYoung

    Do you need more metal foil to make a hat?

  • Red

    Happened to me at the Ft. Smith, AR inquisition (weigh) station on I-40 when I was a team driver for my previous company. The DOT woman came into the truck, opened the curtain and shined her hand-spotlight in my face and told me to giver her my licence, medcard, and logbook or go to jail.

  • Red

    this happened to me at the Ft.Smith AR scale on I-40, the DOT woman climbed into the truck, opened the curtain, and shined her hand-spotlight in my eyes screaming the I had better wake up and give her me licence, medcard, and logbook or go to jail!

  • Jimmy

    Well if All truckers would stop rolling for 2 weeks DOT and Law Enforcement Officers would have a different aspect of Trucking as well as the Receivers and Shippers . Fuel Prices would also drop. When the shelves would go bare.

  • No Reform

    Yep those cops do this stuff all the time..and later have a good laugh about it with their cop pals…this is alla big joke for the cops..they dont care about anything…except their fat paychecks, benefits…and mooching off American truckers..they are a sickening breed of parasites.

  • Martin Hill

    It seems an odd coincidence that my site went down last night. It should be back up soon, if anyone wants to contact me, write to Thanks, Martin Hill

  • Martin

    when did this happen?

  • Castaway50

    Damn cops anymore are nothing more than just revenue collectors. Every time they see a big truck, all they see are dollar signs. I done lost all my respect for those idiots.

  • karen miller

    Please get in touch with me. Our company can help protect and defend you in issues like this and others.

  • Wayne Retired-Trucker Hileman

    From a retired independent trucker…Tried that 3 times…doesn’t work…lots of people get hurt…some lose their trucks…Unions won’t shut down with you. Know why? They are your BIGGEST enemies…

  • No Reform

    Mostly Foreigners drive a truck is a job for desperate poverty stricken illiterates…so these cops figure Most “truckers” are hardup WEIRDOS and POOR….so #1 There maybe some crime going on and #2 the idiot “trucker” cant or wont do nuthin if his RIGHTS are Trampled a little.

  • ms88

    Couldn’t say it better myself. I think (let me reread this article to make sure what it’s about), Yeah about drivers in sleeper berths being woken up, not illegals.

  • 52telecaster

    Come on people. Let’s just get honest about this illegal alien thing. The only drivers I see in California are the illegal types unless the truck is from out of state. If it is from Arizona or Nevada, it likely has a bean-bandit driving it too. How do I know they are “Illegal types?” Go to any truck stop or fuel location in Vernon, Long Beach, Fontana, Rialto, Bloomington and nobody can speak english. And if they do, they pretend they can’t if you are not a Mexican and try to converse with them. For you dumbasses, converse means talk. We did this to ourselves by not fighting back like in the old days. They already own the blue colllar jobs in California. Whether its in warehousing, construction, assembling widgets in factories, and now they run all of the fast food restaurants that our kids used to work at after school to make money saving up for the first car or college. Now, the tortilla flippers make careers at “Yak in de box”. The white man, black man, and non-spanish speaking mexicans are screwed. Go meet Alex at Gardner Trucking in Chino, Ca. All he hires are litle 5ft tall mexican trolls who will do whatever he says for $400 a week. It took 70 hours to make that $400 too. This is not going to get any better if amnesty or whatever they call it this week passes. The only thing this country or the politicians understand is a shutdown. But who can afford to not work for even one week? Not me. Maybe its too late. Will the last American leaving California please take down the flag and turn out the lights. Thank you.

  • savior trucking

    This happened to us in connecticut. The trooper demanded to see my wife when she was sleeping she told him she is not dressed and still demanded her to come out called today to report this to his sergeant . And to my lawyer see what happens. Also females in Indiana need to watch out for a trooper who likes to rub his arm against their breasts while reaching across to get papers in the truck. We reported that scum bag.

  • bill lemon

    I wish this would happen….I’m in with everyone who wants to do this….its time to take a stand and push back….I bet we win….

  • Phillip Shafer

    The police are militaristic, brainwashed by the belief or imposition of such, thatz

  • Phillip Shafer

    Like it

  • Yote Anders

    it’s not about safety – it’s about money and power. SHAME on the agencies that allow this! strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.