Fleet Management

FMCSA Proposes Coercion Rules

May 14, 2014

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing rules to protect drivers from coercion by their employers, shippers, receivers or brokers.

The rules are aimed in particular at preventing abuse concerning driver hours of service, the commercial drivers license, drug and alcohol rules and hazardous materials rules.

The proposal was ordered by Congress in the 2012 highway law, MAP-21, in response to longstanding driver concerns that carriers and others often are indifferent to the operational restrictions imposed by the safety rules, the agency said.

Drivers have complained that they have been pushed to work past the limits of the hours of service rules or to drive trucks that have mechanical problems.

“The consequences of their refusal to (continue working) are either stated explicitly or implied in unmistakable terms: loss of a job, denial of subsequent loads, reduced payment, denied access to the best trips,” the agency said.

The agency is proposing to specifically prohibit carriers and others from threating drivers with loss of work or other economic opportunity for refusing to work because to do so would cause them to break the rules.

The prohibition would turn on whether or not the carrier or other party “knew or should have known” that continued work would violate a rule.

At the same time, an act of coercion would not absolve the driver of his responsibility to obey the rules, the agency said.

“A threat would not constitute coercion unless the driver objects or attempts to object,” the agency said.

An act of coercion could lead to a fine of as much as $11,000. For-hire carriers also could face loss of their operating authority.

The proposal includes procedures for drivers to follow if they want to report coercion. Complaints would be filed with the agency administrator in the state where the allegation occurred.

The proposal was published in Tuesday’s Federal Register.  Comments are due by August 11.

Comments

  1. 1. Dick Gaib [ May 15, 2014 @ 04:45AM ]

    Sounds like a good start, however, we are not told how, the data is to recorded or captured, so a driver has a leg to stand on. The next question,
    WHAT DO DRIVERS DO WHEN WORKING IN STATES WITH, "RIGHT TO WORK RULES?
    THESE COULD BE USED, AND THIS MAKES IT A USELESS, LAW. Also. what about cell phone calls. , used to do the same thing to drivers. The problem also lies with programs in dispatch, when they are rewarded, with a bonus, for on time delivery. Fairness, would also, be easier if all miles were counted, using actual miles over approved trucks routes.

  2. 2. sammy [ May 15, 2014 @ 07:26AM ]

    Ridiculous. As a company owner, I deal with lazy drivers everyday that will use any excuse not to work. And now the government hands them a loophole and I'll get in trouble if I threaten their job. All they have to do is say the truck wasn't maintained or they were too tired. I already have to pay unemployment if I fire one for not doing his regular job.....forget pushing them. I obey all the HOS laws and maintain our equipment regularly. The government makes me hate my job. I'm beginning to think that the 35 people I employ can find work elsewhere and I'll retire. I'm tired of dealing with being told what to do when other industries aren't held to same standards. My sister is a nurse working 15 our shifts and Dr's do too. Is that fair? They are directly responsible for peoples lives also. You can drive un maintained personal cars everywhere and pull out in front of trucks but are they held accountable.....NO!!!

  3. 3. haller [ May 26, 2014 @ 07:48AM ]

    Easy answer, the federally tested and licensed truck driver can turn the machine off for 10 consecutive hours during his break.. The driver can only be contacted after his 10 hour break ends, not before...

 

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