Based on evidence it has accumulated that points to “a serious pattern of harassment- and assault-related crimes against female and minority male truckers,” the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Feb. 28 its intention to study the “prevalence, seriousness, and nature of the problem of harassment and assaults” against these drivers.
FMCSA noted that its evidence includes a 2005 article in Security Journal that reported that 42% of female long-haul drives reported experiencing one or more types of workplace violence. And a 2017 USA Today article that gave accounts of repeated harassment of minority male truckers.
To get the ball rolling on studying the issue, the agency has filed an Information Collection Request with the Office of Management and Budget, which requires that all public comments on the matter be received no later than March 30.
In its notice in the Federal Register for Feb. 28, the agency stated that it needs to validate the problem of harassment- and assault-related crimes, especially against female and minority male drivers, for two reasons. “First, there seems to be a perception among these subpopulations of truckers that they are more vulnerable than others. Second, there is a critical shortage of truckers, and helping these subpopulations of truckers protect themselves from crimes could draw more truckers from these subpopulations, while stemming turnover, to alleviate the shortage.”
As a first step toward validating the scope of the problem, FMCSA has contracted with Battelle to create and execute an exploratory survey of truck drivers limited to female and minority male drivers. Analysis of the survey results will help the agency “begin to formulate an approach to reducing it.” FMCSA also stated that the results of this survey “will not be used for rulemaking.”
The survey will ask whether the drivers have experienced race- or gender-related harassment or crimes on the job. If the driver has had such an experience, the survey will ask follow-up questions on where and when the incidents occurred, any information the respondent knows about the perpetrator, and whether the respondent reported the incident.
The survey will be anonymous and none of the questions will ask for information that could personally identify the respondent or any perpetrators involved.
“If study findings indicate a significant problem that merits action, FMCSA may consider developing training or outreach materials to help truckers protect themselves from crime or harassment,” the agency said. It added that such training or outreach materials could help foster driver-retention efforts and help make truck driving “more attractive to a greater range of people.”
FMCSA is specifically asking the public to comment on any aspect of its proposal, including: (1) Whether the proposed collection is necessary for the FMCSA to perform its functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways for the FMCSA to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the collected information; and (4) ways that the burden could be minimized without reducing the quality of the collected information.
All comments should reference Federal Docket Management System Docket Number FMCSA-2018-0278.
Comments should be addressed to the attention of the Desk Officer, Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and sent via electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or faxed to (202) 395-6974, or mailed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Docket Library, Room 10102, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503.