FMCSA unveils rule to prohibit coercion of drivers by carriers, shippers, brokers

| May 12, 2014
The agency's proposed 'driver coercion rule' will prohibit carriers, shippers, brokers and others from threatening drivers with loss of work as a coercion tactic to get them to operate in violation of federal safety regulations.

The agency’s proposed ‘driver coercion rule’ will prohibit carriers, shippers, brokers and others from threatening drivers with loss of work as a coercion tactic to get them to operate in violation of federal safety regulations.

A proposed rule prohibiting carriers, shippers, brokers and others from coercing drivers to drive beyond hours of service limits or in contravention of other federal rules has been released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In addition to the prohibition of coercion and threatening drivers to exceed hours limits, the rule puts in place procedures for drivers to report coercion to the agency and procedures for the agency to respond to the allegations. 

The rule is in some ways related to the March-released proposed electronic logging device mandate, whose predecessor — the 2011 limited electronic onboard recorder mandate — was tossed in court due to FMCSA’s failure to address the issue of driver harrassment as part of the rulemaking. 

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The coercion rule will have a 90-day comment period from the date of its publication date, which is slated for May 13. The rule was mandated by language in the current highway funding act, MAP-21.

The rule would make it illegal for carriers, shippers, receivers or intermediaries (brokers) to coerce drivers by threatening them “with loss of work or other economic opportunities for refusing to operate a CMV under circumstances that those entities knew or should have known would require a driver” to violate FMCSA’s hours limits, drug and alcohol testing rules or hazmat regulations, among other rules, according to the agency’s proposal.

These entities have broken the agency’s coercion rule if they “fail to heed a driver’s objection that the request would require him/her to break the rules,” the proposal reads.

However, drivers’ liability to comply with safety rules is not absolved if they are coerced, the agency says.

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The rule imposes a penalty of up to $11,000 per violation on the entities prohibited from coercion in the rule. The agency also says it has the authority to suspend or revoke authority from a carrier or broker if it does not comply.

The agency says its rule also may overlap with provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, which prohibits employers from retaliating against drivers who refuse to operate a vehicle for safety reasons. Those rules are enforced by the Department of Labor, whose main goal is employee protection, whereas FMCSA says its rule is geared toward safety.

The STAA would protect driver wages, but FMCSA says it has “no authority to compensate drivers who experience coercion,” per the rule.

Any discrimination claims by drivers would lay the burden of proof on the accusing driver. Drivers must present evidence to FMCSA to back up their claims, the agency says.

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A driver alleging coercion — and therefore violation of the new reg — must file a written complaint with FMCSA within 60 days of the event, according to the rule, detailing where the coercion happened or the principal place of business of the alleged violator. Complaints must include a driver’s name, address and telephone number; the name and address of the person allegedly coercing the driver; the specific provisions of the regulations the driver alleges he or she was coerced to violate; and a brief statement of the facts that substantiate each coercion allegation.

The rule says FMCSA will then determine whether the complaint is legitimate and has met the requirements of the regulation before initiating an investigation. The driver complainant will be notified of the findings from any investigation in a timely fashion, the agency says.

The rule also would direct the agency to study and consider driver coercion as a potential issue when developing rules.

The public comment period is set to open May 13, and comments can be made online at regulations.gov using the docket number FMCSA-2012-0377.

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  • Ja

    We have to have a f ing law for every law, so these idiots can have a job. Wish they would just leave us alone, so we can make a living.

  • Ralph

    I agree! Tell the federal gov to go pound sand! Leave us the hell alone! Ya done screwed with hrs enough there isn’t the money out here there used to be! F OFF!

  • Mike Smith

    STOP THIS HS NONE SENSE TALK.

    Elogs is not about this stupid a CRAP.

    It is about gov violating our “right to privacy” AND “freedom of movement”. Under the “color” of SAFETY.

    What we are experiencing is an Overthrow of our government by this corrupt government. And an overthrow of the citizens of the United States.

    The government has been overthrown by the corporations and businesses, AND MEDIA, in this country. This is TYRANNY. Under the control of a TYRANNIC government crippling us and our rights.

    The American Revolution was fought over MUCH LESS, than the corruptness going on in our country NOW. It was fought basically because the government of Great Britain just wanted the colonists to help pay for the French and Indian War, That protected colonists at the time.They also wanted taxes to pay for the military in the colonies that were protecting them.

    Citizens need to start calling the turn of events, we have been experiencing, what it is; a corrupt, bribed, TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT, now under the control of the corporations and businesses!

  • mousekiller

    Any thing the FMCSA does has a underlying agenda in it. So nothing really about harassing the driver ,Just trying to get the driver to break the law. Nothing about being on the side of the driver that states he too tired or sick or other reasons to be unable to continue. We have 90 days to voice our opinions and reasons against this FMCSA garbage.

    I hear from some that pretend to be drivers that say if you don’t like the EOBR you must be the ones that run illegal. That is nothing but pure hay that has been through the cow once, I don’t wish to be treated like criminal with a electronic ankle bracelet. How about you.? Need an electronic tracking bracelet to do your job?

  • sedsaid

    FMCSA just needs to go away

  • James Dauphinais

    This won’t change a Damn thing! Every company out there does it. Oh do your “Best” which means it had better be on time or else! I’ve been trucking for Damn near 30 year’s, I just tell them to stuff it!

  • Mike

    I have figured out how to run safely on my own. I don’t need the government in the cab with me telling me when to go to sleep!

  • Stormy

    I am assuming this rule would also apply to police officers, DOT officers if we have to stop in a “no parking” zone when no other parking is available? And what about “truck unfriendly” businesses with parking lots large enough to accommodate trucks? Do we outlaw no parking signs and no trucks allowed signs?

    The list is endless and while FMCSA is flexing their muscles maybe they should try to flex their brain and make a list of 10, 0001 ways this rule can go so very wrong

  • Mike
  • MR.D

    28year on the road
    I find e-log dangers I see company drivers pushing themselves at the start and end of there day because there under the gun. sorry it not the answer and I don’t have one for you!

  • Craig Vecellio

    I had an incident like that recently… Dispatch gave me a completely impossible load schedule. I laid out my trip plan step by step on my Qualcomm. The response I got was ‘Just try.’ The next day I got a call from dispatch flipping out because I wasn’t on the delusional schedule. I then got a call from the load planner. It turns out my dispatcher sat on the Qualcomm message, so the load planner had no clue. The load planner gave me her direct extension to contact her if I have concerns with load schedules, so now I just bypass dispatch.

  • e. rose

    i used to drive and after the 2nd time my company used my hours of service against me i quit and retired. and they are still getting away with it, if i had the money to sue i sure would. but to prove it is another thing.

  • Frankly Speaking

    Some of you may have missed the part of the article that says it is a ‘redundant rule that affects the Department of Labor’. If a violation is found, the Department of Labor is required, by law, to investigate, also. If the Department of Labor finds a violation, then the Driver will be compensated for what ever reason they were forced to an overtime situation. The offending entity, will be fined by the Department of Labor, as well. These people are extremely ‘Bad Ass’ when it comes to ‘Work Place’ violations. The only way for the violating entity to side step fines, is to go Bankrupt, as happened to me. You can’t fine anyone who doesn’t exist, anymore. So, I didn’t get paid…. I believe the new rules are a step in the right direction for driver and O/O compensaton.

  • Frankly Speaking

    Also, you can bitch all you want…..it ain’t going to change, ‘Hoss’. We got what we got because you don’t vote, and those that do vote—the majority that vote, and don’t know trucking—vote idiots into office. It’ll take another lifetime PTI change the laws that have been passed already….. So, get on your ‘CyBy’ and keep complaining…. it anin’t going to change a thang, ‘Hoss’.

  • Jason

    If every one could drive 15 hours a day under the 15/20 a day rule, adopt the 80 hours in 8 days, get rid of the required half hour break after 7 hours. Freight would move a little better. Also get rid of that two consecutive 1 am to 5 am periods for a 34 hour restart. If I log off duty 5 am Saturday morning, I can’t legally go back out till 5 Am Monday morning that’s 48 hours off not 34. That’s 14 hours lost I could have been driving . As for being forced out with low hours or no hours. I simple tell them ” I don’t have the hours to do the run. I wont run illegal! ” If I do get forced out. I driver till I have no hours and then sit and charge them stand by time while waiting for my log book to recap or I have my 80 hours back which ever comes first. I dont care if their promised on time freight is late. Learn to dispatch better.

  • guest

    Oh..the “coercion rule”? Ya mean where they tell the driver to deliver On Time or else?? The driver mentions Logs and the owner starts yelling “dont give me that crap”??? Ya mean THAT part of trucking? Thes cops are all acting SURPRIZED?? As if they had No Idea? It has SUDDENLY become an issue because Rich Lobbyists are PAYING High Bucks to get these Electro Logs Installed and Get the Drivers to go along with it. This is how CROOKED trucking IS and always Has Been. All Lies…cops included all the way down the line…….Lying Thieving Crooks every single one of them.

  • guest

    This electo logs only works for Mega Fleets…they do plan legal….and ya dont have to sweat it….but a SMALL company will not survive long sticking to the RULES…should be interesting as this crap unfolds…no way small companies will earn much sticking to the Hours and Using Electro Logs…..

  • guest

    Companies will go along with the driver’s objection about the hours of service situation…however they will make his life a Living Hell after they find out he is a COMPLAINER, a Whiner…a “problem” they will find subtle ways to make him QUIT working there….”Punishment Runs” is what they are called….Driver UNLOAD….the SIT for 3 days waiting for your next Driver Unload…..they have have ways….they sit up at night dreaming of ways to SCREW the driver who makes things “difficult” for operations. This was the case with PAPER logs….it will always be the same…..

  • guest

    What a twisted sick joke trucking has become…who could possibly take trucking seriously today….with Non truckers Anne Ferro and Anthony Foxx standing on their soap boxes and waving their hands around…..pretending to know about Trucking…and what is BEST!!! However they have never actually earned a PENNY working in trucking…..it’s a comedy….this should be on Saturday Night Live……just the IDEA of Anne Ferro somehow INVOLVED in trucking is basically hilarious…..what in Hell could either one of them Possibly know? lol

  • FoxStar

    Another person with tinfoil wound to such a point, that he’s liable to get struck by lightning.

  • D.B Express

    If they want to keep track of us have shippers time stamp the freight bills, make them pay 100.00 per hour when you arrive for your appointment until you are loaded,seems a whole lot cheaper than this electronic crap they are coming up with. They say they don’t have the authority to do this,just classify it as a safety issue and mandate it.

  • rsmith

    Yes..these are the same people that think its ok for the gov. To listen in on phone calls and read e mails and all the other freedoms that’s being taken away..but will be the first on your doorstep to take what you have when they no longer can get theirs

  • jan johnson

    You got that right!

  • jan johnson

    That’s the whole point. If fmcsa did screw shit up worse they just seat around and look at each other! Just like congress they are trying to look like there doing a job. If it was up to me I’d fire them all starting with that head Bitch.

  • jan johnson

    The game is money! How’s going to get that .50cents your boss state or government because you can bet your ass your not going to get it.

  • DavidMac

    Northeast US is really bad about letting trucks park anywhere but at truck stops. I stopped at a mall to make sure it was the correct address and a local barney pulled up immediately and screamed (yes, screamed!) at me to move the truck elsewhere. When I calmly informed the cop that I was supposed to deliver at the mall, he demanded to see the BL. Eventually, when I proved that I had a legal right to be there, he relented. If the “public servants” would act helpful (instead of being Gestapo-wannabes), trucking would be a little easier.

  • Michael Smallridge

    Fuss and moan. Y’all sound like old ladies. No one is forcing any of you to drive. If you don’t like it do something else. If you choose to stay quit belly aching. It’s your chose. If enough people get out of driving the industry will change until then you know what it is, except it or move on. Bunch of cry babies.

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    Just like the FMCSA diligently enforce the rules covering receivers coercing carriers to use a lumper service, even if the driver is fully able to unload his own vehicle.

    http://www.ooida.com/EducationTools/Resources/lumping-regs.asp

    Even though it is a federal statute and receivers that force you to hire their lumping service are breaking the law, no matter how many times you report it with proper documentation they just ignore it.

    I have yet to hear back from them from over a year ago, sent in all the documentation by registered mail. The FMCSA is a joke when it comes to protecting the rights of drivers.

    These “rules” will be totally ignored by shippers, receivers, and carriers, and the FMCSA will do nothing at all for drivers when it happens.

  • Smoovious

    they plan legal, only if you’re pulling out and starting to execute the plan the moment your DM sends it out to you… if you wait for it to arrive in your truck, and read it, get dressed, do your pre-trip, and hit the can, then you can’t make it legal anymore.

    Sure, there are some good DM’s out there, who used to be out on the road themselves at one point, and DM from a driver’s perspective, but there aren’t enough of them. To most, we’re just dots on a map they have to move to the other end of the line. We’re just a transport game for them to play.

  • Smoovious

    Just don’t give a shit what happens to our industry, eh, Michael? Just everyone STFU… you could possibly add your own voice and try to help make our industry better but, nope nope nope… Just don’t give enough of a shit about it to care… gotcha, supertrucker…

  • Steven

    If they would get rid of the 14 hour rule no one would be under the gun.

  • Roger

    There is 3 law students for every practicing lawyer in this country! That is where this all coming from. The fmcsa and government is all lawyers trying to figure out to keep one another busy. A coercion rule will do nothing all a company or dispatcher has to say is prove it and get a lawyer. Hopefully everyone can figure this out, get it another lawyer involved. After 30 years and running 50 trucks at one time down to running one by myself, a person would be better off working at mcdonalds get a food discount to eat while on duty and go ride a bycycle to and from work. Then if someone try’s run over you (hire a lawyer) get it another lawyer. There everywhere and more are coming!!

  • Stephen Paget

    When will the powers to be understand that driver training and Education is vital to help our Industry.Having ELD’s is only a glorified baby sitting mandate.With the 14 hr shotgun rule drivers are not stopping and are driving faster

  • BigBoyButch

    How will “driver coercion” or harassment ever be proven??? It’s a smoke show to pass E Logs and doesn’t mean squat!!

  • BigBoyButch

    E Logs are a joke too. Ask anyone on them and they’ll tell you that their dispatcher changes their hours to give them whatever they need to run. Heck, there are already black market programs and phone ECM’s for sale to counter act E Logs. What’s the point besides giving the American Public another phony sense of security?

  • Mind Games

    Can you say BlackBall??? A phone call is all it takes to BlackBall…
    All these laws have loopholes as big as Texas!
    The elog can be used as a weapon and so right there is your poolstick!
    I wish they would work for me I’d show em a trick or two. Just Email me DOT I can show you guys things that would make you go insane!!!
    I could work you to death because I see you have the hours, I could make you sit too and starve you out the company.
    I could put so much freight on you you would beg me to stop! Drop and hook drop and hook drop and hook would kill your back and then I’d send you across the worst roads in the union for the final nail in the coffin
    I could book hot loads on you that would make you pee on yourself as you pee in a glass while going down the road and the only time you would get break is your 30 minute break and your little 10 hour break. I could trip you up by having you to pull over and read my messages making you late for delivery and then byebye!!!
    You people in DC don’t know “The Game” because you people are duffus a desk jockystraps for the rich!

  • Carrie Russell

    stop the whineing us drivers brought it on ourselves

  • ken

    OK if the whole idea is e logs then lets have e logs, why do we need the tracking. If they want me to fill out an electronic log instead of a paper log and then at the end of the day upload it to head office then fine i’ll do that. There is no need for the tracking of my movements throughout the day. Right now I have a device in my truck where I have to upload my previous days hours to the office. If I miss a day I won’t be dispatched until my logs are caught up. When I send in my paperwork I send in the paper logs. I think they track me I don’t know for sure though because no one hassles me at all. Paper or e log I don’t care but when you start tracking me like a criminal that’s where I will draw the line.

  • psycho

    Check out my story on what this rule or law is really about. True trucking. On facebook. I figured it out tonight how there is an agenda behind this. Hoping a real news channel will pick up on it. Contacting all I can.

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  • rainier4311

    The federal government is packed full of dorks who really do not know trucking and what it takes to move a load from here to there.

    What I find is, as a matter of making a point, go back to the rules of 2003 and earlier and enforce the rules as they stand. The purpose for this is to inform the federal government that even these rules are stupid.

    I consult to the industry in the area of HOS. I can absolutely prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all loads; ALL loads are being ran illegal, from the time a dispatcher issues a load to the driver.

    The owners and CEOs state they run their company legal, but they are only covering their tracks. But returning to these federal goofballs, If a driver states that they are being coerced, the company will bring them to the terminal after they finish their load, then may not receive another dispatch for a while. The dispatcher may give them a week off with no guarantees of a load coming back to work.

    What every driver on every line to include their management is start riding their congressman and senators like riding a horse with spurs digging in. The trucking industry will get some action done and since you vote, they get scared when they are threatened with a loss of a vote, especially if there are a number of voters in a single district.

  • mark murphy

    OHN DUTY KNOTT DRIVING….RULE/ –OR LOGING OFF DUTY- /SLEEPER..FOR AT LEAST 2HRS…OR..DRP/HOOK – OHN PAPPER-…NEW PRE TRIP/RESET..LOGS …AS AH FRESH PRE TRIP…TOSS’ SCAN..- PPR WRKK……….KEEP OHN TRUKKIN- KNOT BECWASE – I WANT TO..HWEVR I HAV TO TO- MAKE LEASED/AGREEMENT PAYMENTS…CWASE FUEL/SURCHRG – IS LESS THEN MONTHLY FOOD STAMPS………..IM RETIRED NOWE..WHONT RETURN…UNTIL WERE AT 43-HR/SHYPERS/RECIV….REGULAYTED IN TO..TYIME CARD RAYTE./GPS..IMED AFTR ENT – EYITHER.LOCATION

  • mark murphy

    I HAVE ALL TH PROF…DOCUMENTED IN A CORTE OF LAW…HARRISBURG PA/UNEMPLY
    W/CORTE…NAILING PROGRESSIVE TRANSPORT FOR FALSE/CORTE DOCUMENTATION TO TH ALLEDGED PEOPLE/NETT – OHN BOARD COMPUTER/TRACKER………..908 307 7469’….I WOULD LYIKE TO SUE THEM……WYNN WYNN…ANYBODEE..HAV A DOT LAWYER,,,,?

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