On Nov 29th, the U.S. Department of Transportion’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) officially published the Final Rule in the Federal Register pertaining to Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers; referred to as the “driver coercion rule”.
The final rule will take effect on Friday January 29th, and will “prohibit motor carriers, shippers, receivers, or transportation intermediaries from coercing drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regultations – including drivers’ hours-of-service limits; the commercial driver’s license (CDL) regulations; drug and alcohol testing rules; and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs).”
The Final Rule addresses three key areas concerning driver coercion described by the FMCSA:
1) Procedures for commercial truck and bus drivers to report incidents of coercion to the FMCSA.
2) Steps the agency could take when respnding to such allegations.
3) Penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers.
What defines Coercion?
According to the FMCSA: “Coercion occurs when a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary threatens to withhold work from, take employment action against, or punish a driver for refusing to operate in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and the Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs). Coercion may be found to have taken place even if a violation has not occurred. An example of coercion is when a motor carrier terminates a driver for refusing to accept a load that would require the driver to violate the hours of service requirements. The following must have occurred in order for coercion to have existed:
A motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary request a driver to perform a task that would result in the driver violating certain provisions of the FMCSRs, HMRs, or the FMCCRs;
The driver informs the motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary of the violation that would occur if the task is performed, such as driving over the hours of service limits or creating unsafe driving conditions; and
The motor carrier shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary make a threat or take action against the driver’s employment or work opportunities to get the driver to take the load despite the regulatory violation that would occur.
What are the penalties?
The rule published in the Federal Register provides details pertaining to penalties that any broker, carrier, shipper, or shipping intermediary could face if they were to be found guilty of driver coercion.
For more information, please contact your local MIQ Logistics representative.