Driver-Coercion Rule Takes Effect on Jan. 29

January 13, 2016

By David Cullen

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Image: Seeing Machines
Image: Seeing Machines

The new rule prohibiting acts of coercion aimed at compelling truck drivers to violate federal safety regulations takes effect in just over two weeks, on Jan. 29.

The “Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers” rule specifically forbids motor carriers, shippers, receivers, or transportation intermediaries from coercing CDL holders to violate certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

The covered regulations include drivers' hours-of-service limits; CDL regulations; drug and alcohol testing rules; and haz-mat requirements.

The rule also prohibits anyone who operates a CMV in interstate commerce from coercing a driver to violate the commercial regulations. 

According to FMCSA, the final rule addresses three key areas concerning driver coercion:

  • Procedures for commercial truck and bus drivers to report incidents of coercion to FMCSA 
  • Steps the agency could take when responding to such allegations
  • Penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers

Those penalties can include fines of up to $16,000 for each offense on any “motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary that coerces a driver to violate the regulations listed in the definition of coercion.” 

The rulemaking was mandated by Congress back in 2014 in response to long-standing driver concerns that carriers and others are often indifferent to the operational restrictions imposed by federal safety rules, according to FMCSA.

During the rulemaking process, the agency noted that it heard from drivers who reported having been pressured to violate 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.”

“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 Chief Counsel T.F. Scott Darling III.  


  1. 1. Marty [ January 14, 2016 @ 12:30PM ]

    Great!! Trucking companies,brokers,shippers,etc.don't care of driver conditions on the road

  2. 2. Norm [ January 15, 2016 @ 03:17AM ]

    Since it is already in the regs that " A driver cannot operate a commercial moter vehicle when ill or fatigued " maybe now people will listen to us when we tell them, sorry I can't do that.

  3. 3. Donna [ January 15, 2016 @ 03:34AM ]

    Norm, I doubt it will they will just find another avenue to get around it. Watch and see if I am not right on this.

  4. 4. Randy [ January 15, 2016 @ 04:18AM ]

    Donna, What is needed is the legal use of phone recording without any notifications. That is directly related to the business of the company.

  5. 5. Dave [ January 15, 2016 @ 11:13AM ]

    How can a driver remain anonymous? You report it and they know it was you then they find a way to get rid of you.

  6. 6. scott [ January 15, 2016 @ 02:49PM ]

    So does this mean when I'm at a shipper or receiver and I run out of time they can't make me leave? It would be a violation of hos.

  7. 7. Debra Harrower [ January 15, 2016 @ 06:32PM ]

    What a joke. Kinda like Obama and his gun control. The bad guys don't care about laws!! And it will still pretty much be your word against theirs

  8. 8. Confederate Ghost [ January 17, 2016 @ 06:53AM ]

    I drove OTR for 39 and a half years until I retired 3 years ago. During those 39 years I could name you even today a ton of companies that practice coercion on a daily basis. As a matter of fact it is the norm. Drivers protect yourselves if this is happening to you get yourself a micro cassette recorder we always called them dispatch busters. And bust their lying ass'es. You must CYA out there. Cover Your Ass. Before you call dispatch record the date and time of the call and whom the company is as well as the name of the dispatcher then make the call.Remember CYA.


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