WASHINGTON, D.C. – The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced today the publication of a Final Rule that prohibits coercion and helps to safeguard commercial truck and bus drivers from being compelled to violate federal safety regulations.
The Rule gives FMCSA the authority to take enforcement action not only against motor carriers, but also against shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries.
“Our nation relies on millions of commercial vehicle drivers to move people and freight, and we must do everything we can to ensure that they are able to operate safely,” said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This Rule enables us to take enforcement action against anyone in the transportation chain who knowingly and recklessly jeopardizes the safety of the driver and of the motoring public.”
According to FMCSA, the Rule addresses the three key areas around 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.
“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.”
While formulating the Rule FMCSA heard from drivers who reported being pressured to violate federal safety regulations with threats of job termination, denial of subsequent trips or loads, reduced pay, forfeiture of favourable work hours or transportation jobs.
The Final Rule takes effect 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register.