FMCSA Publishes Final ‘Driver Coercion’ Rule

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The FMCSA this morning announced a final rule to help protect drivers from being coerced into violating federal safety regulations has been published in the Federal Register.

The Final Rule addresses three areas of driver coercion: “procedures for commercial truck and bus drivers to report incidents of coercion to the FMCSA, steps the agency could take when responding to such allegations, and penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers.”

“In formulating this Rule, the agency heard from commercial drivers who reported being pressured to violate federal safety regulations with implicit or explicit threats of job termination, denial of subsequent trips or loads, reduced pay, forfeiture of favorable work hours or transportation jobs, or other direct retaliations,” the FMCSA states.

For many years, drivers have reported being coerced into violating HOS laws or driving while they’re fatigued.  The FMCSA states that the driver coercion law will place stiff penalties on carriers who are found to have coerced their drivers.

“Any time a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, freight-forwarder, or broker demands that a schedule be met, one that the driver says would be impossible without violating hours-of-service restrictions or other safety regulations, that is coercion,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling.  “No commercial driver should ever feel compelled to bypass important federal safety regulations and potentially endanger the lives of all travelers on the road.”

For more information on what constitutes coercion and how to submit a complaint to FMCSA, see: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/coercion.  Please note: the Final Rule takes effect 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

This rulemaking was authorized by Section 32911 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (MCSA), as amended.

For a copy of today’s Federal Register announcement, see: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/11/30/2015-30237/prohibiting-coercion-of-commercial-motor-vehicle-driver

The public, commercial drivers, motor carriers, and other industry members may file a safety, service, or discrimination complaint against a household goods moving company, bus, or truck company, including hazardous materials hauler or a cargo tank facility, by calling toll free 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.Monday through Friday, Eastern Time.  Complaints may also be submitted through FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint website at: http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov.