Commercial Driver-Coercion Rule Taking Effect On January 29, 2022
The new rule which prohibits acts of coercion that compel truck drivers to violate federal regulations takes effect on January 29.
The rule specifically prevents employers such as motor carriers, receivers, shippers or transportation intermediaries from compelling CDL holders to ignore or violate provisions from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Covered Regulations include aspects such as CDL regulations, drivers hours-of-service limits, haz-mat requirements, and drug/alcohol testing rules.
It also aims to prevent those who operate a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) in interstate commerce from attempting to coerce drivers into violating commercial regulations.
According to the FMCSA, the last rule addresses three important areas which are related to driver coercion:
Procedures for bus drivers and commercial truck drivers to report coercion incidents to the FMCSA
Steps the agency may take in order to respond to allegations
Penalties to be imposed on employers who were found to have coerced one or more drivers.
Penalties include fines that may reach up to $16,000 for each offense on all motor carriers, receivers, shippers or transportation intermediaries which coerce a driver to ignore regulations that are listed in the definition of coercion.
This rule was mandated by Congress in the year of 2014, responding to a long-standing concern by drivers. Apparently, carriers and other employers often ignore the operational restrictions the federal safety rules impose — often coercing drivers into violating them.
During the process, the agency reported having heard from drivers that theyâ€™ve been coerced into violate such regulations which implicit or explicit threats such as denial of subsequent loads or trips, job termination, reduced pay, forfeiture of favorable hours and transportation jobs, or other types of direct retaliation.
According to FMCSAâ€™s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Chief Counsel T.F. Scott Darling III, whenever a motor carrier, receiver, shipper, broker or freight-forwarder requests that a transportation schedule is met, and said schedule would not be possible to meet without violation of a certain safety regulation, they are being coerced.