Trucker coercion prohibition rule now in effect: Here’s how to file a complaint against a carrier, broker or shipper

| February 19, 2016

27A new federal rule that implements large fines for carriers, shippers and brokers caught pressuring drivers to operate beyond federal safety regulations, such as when they’re out of hours, is now in effect, as is a new system for truckers to file complaints for alleged coercion instances with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The rule is intended to protect truckers from “threats of economic harm,” the rule states, such as loss of business, pay, miles, loads and the like, if drivers don’t comply with entities trying to push them to operate when they legally can’t.

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The rule, which took effect Jan. 29, sets hefty fines for entities caught coercing drivers — $16,000 a pop, a price the agency hopes is a coercion prevention measure in and of itself, beyond the federal rules actually prohibiting coercion.

However, though FMCSA says the “burden of proof” in coercion claims made by drivers is on the agency itself, truckers — the victims of such coercion violations — are the ones responsible for providing the “critical evidence needed to sustain the action against a carrier, shipper, receiver or [broker],” FMCSA writes in the final rule’s notice.

Truckers must also know the rule they’re being coerced to break and must object to a request for the coercion claim to be valid. From FMCSA’s explanation of the rule: “Motor carriers, shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries cannot commit coercion under the final rule unless and until they have been put on notice by the driver that he or she cannot meet the proposed delivery schedule without violating the HOS limits or other regulatory requirements. The purpose of that notice is, of course, to ensure that the driver is not coerced to commit such violations.”

The agency also isn’t in a position to remedy such coercion instances if proven. It only can fine the coercing entity, not order things back wages or punitive damages. But, the agency says, it plays to work with the Department of Labor and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration on coercion claims. The DOL does have the authority to do more than simply issue fines.

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Truck operators who intend to file complaints with FMCSA following a coercion instance have 90 days to do so, using the agency’s National Consumer Complaint Database available at this link.

FMCSA says complainants should provide their name, address and phone number in their filing, along with the name and address of the person who allegedly coerced them. They should also include: (1) “Provisions of the regulations that the driver alleges he or she was coerced to violate and (2) a concise but complete statement of the facts relied upon to substantiate each allegation of coercion, including the date of each alleged violation.”

The agency will then decide if the claim is “nonfrivolous” or otherwise. If it’s legitimate, it will turn the case over to a division administrator to pursue an investigation.

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37 comments
Patskid
Patskid

What do the FMSC tring to say that my truck is not a home I spend more time in my truck then I do in my home address so consider it my home and I will tell anyone other wise I spend anywhere from 8 to 10 months a year in my truck so what would you call it

Patskid
Patskid

What do the FMSC tring to say that my truck is not a home I spend more time in my truck then I do in my home address so consider it my home and I will tell anyone other wise I spend anywhere from 8 to 10 months a year in my truck so what would you call it

joedonner
joedonner

The $16k (if it is ever collected) immediately needs to be given to the driver who reported the violation. Government never has a right to keep any of that money, they are not the one wronged. Also they make enough money off fancy little traps called taxes. Anything past that is highway robbery and agency nest feathering to grow bigger and out of control

richardj
richardj

there should be a standard rate of pay and we should push the brokers out of the picture; companies; owner operators and the like should be able to bid on loads and arrange contracts; its time to get rid of the broker scam apparatus ....................

Tim
Tim

Doesn't really matter anyway.theres always some foreigner fresh off the boat who will take the abuse and low pay and still think it's better than where he came from. We will all be replaced so might as well start looking for another job outside of trucking. Probably be happier anyway.

sthomas1957
sthomas1957

I've been finding my own loads for eight years now. I don't remember once ever being told by a broker that I needed to violate anything in order to get my load delivered on time. If there's bad weather, traffic tie ups, or just running late because neither of us calculated the time needed to get the load delivered on time, they are almost always accommodating. However, prior to that I worked for dispatchers for thirteen years. And then I can say that there were a few dispatchers who always got ornery whenever I was running behind for whatever reason. Even if you tell them that I-80 across Wyoming is a sheet of ice, if they're sitting in an office somewhere in sunny Arkansas, what do they care? In my own experience the company dispatchers (whose own pay I believe is directly tied to their drivers' performance) have been worse than the brokers.

sthomas1957
sthomas1957

I have had brokers offer me loads that had ridiculous parameters to begin with, however. Such as, "Drive this 1,200 load up to the northeast and get it there by tomorrow if you can." I either educate the broker that a 1,200 mile load can't be done in one day, or else I refuse to take the load. But loads that had reasonable delivery times on them to begin with (and I try to make most of my deliveries on time anyway -- 99 percent), the brokers have always been willing to work with me when I explained the situation to them.

Bill
Bill

I tell the brokers with those get it there yesterday loads sure I'll do it. I'll load it, look up the receiver and re schedule to my liking. Don't trust brokers to do it. You'll wind up being a work in. The only reason those loads exist is that they couldn't find a truck to do it for free so the time dwindles by till the last minute then they want a team or a Miricle worker. Scum bags.

Garick
Garick

As a driver ,A major motivator is a bigger paycheck sitting around waiting on loggs to catch up , and the inflexible hours of service is a waist of time and money, how about more flexibility instead of government controlfreakism , how does it go if it weren't for lawyer's we wouldn't need lawyer's, ELDs in my personal opinion should be 16 hour window, or a none 14 hour window start drive time up an hour to go from parking to customer ,2 up an hour After 11 or 14 to find (A Safe Parking Area) non penalised window time frame, 3 get rid of 70 hour and make it an 85 hour , I feel alot less stress when I don't have to race a time window especially because I do flat bed and oversize, but sadly this industry is turning into a form of timeline and financial slavery, If it was up to or government there would be no owner ops or small trucking companies.

i am one of you
i am one of you

this is all BS, this is partially why shippers/receivers require appointments, some only make appointments verbally, to say,sorry you missed your appointment, you are a work in, we will get to you when we can, DO NOT PISS OFF THE FORKLIFT DRIVER who goes home at the end of his day and says see you Monday! a little advise to think about, work with your customer, be happy, enjoy your career, instead of bitching about waiting time, air your tires, check your brakes, wipe down clean your trucks interior, log off and take a nap!

Bill
Bill

Sure that will pay the bills. Watching your 14 count down while waiting for some lazy unloader to get around to it. Hopefully you don't have a load they hate or they push your paperwork to the bottom for the next shift. You must be one of those I live in my truck guys with no family or bills to pay( nothing wrong with that ) just saying my time is valuable. Every day waisted on the road is one less at home. I don't like shippers and receivers stealing my home time with my family. Just sayin

Thomas Duncan
Thomas Duncan

The only "coercion" that will be going on is the rule itself! The rules are forcing drivers into pushing a 24hr job and planning of their day into 14hrs with 11 hrs driving....It is a bunch of crap and everyone knows it! The law is harrassing the drivers as well as the companies and independants and causing dangerous conditions on the road! I wish someone would seriously address the real issues here and expose all this to the public.Another run away government bunch going well beyond what they are suppose to be. I have absolutely no respect for these people they have no regard for my freedom or rights,,,,screw all of them,,,,we need to stop holding hands with them and slap the crap out of them!

Bob
Bob

That was a well put statement. Why these people think they can correct a problem that was caused by a regulation with another regulation is more than I understand. Do you think that you can file a complaint to FMCSA about your employer and everything is going to stay the same or you can go too another carrier and they won't know anything about it. Hell a carried is required to tell what kind of employee you were. These people need to live in the real world. If your carrier is doing thing that you don't like or want to be apart of just leave and get a better job. Don't think you can get a lawyer , change a company that is doing wrong and it's going to help your life--- it ain't going to happen. They can't keep doing it for long and the best thing to do is go get a good job an improve yourself. You can't make a better life sitting in a lawyers office it just don't pay except for the lawyer. I'm not saying how it should be I just know how it is. ELD's are NOT the answer the whole trucking industry is not like UPS. Every trucking company and every trucking trip is different with different problems.What used to be a good trucker was a person that could get the load there SAFE and still make money for himself [ and his employer ] . You can't do this if you keeping putting drivers in a box with more regulations. It's going to keep going down hill. This is not a nine to five job and will never be. Listen to more drivers.

Bill
Bill

What about receivers who take several hours to unload you, and then force you to leave their property when your out of hours with the threat of towing your truck and having you arrested if you don't leave?

Bill
Bill

Sorry but I'm an o/o with my own authority so it doesn't work that way for me. Sure I may never go back to that shipper or receiver but that doesn't help when it happens.

Craig Vecellio
Craig Vecellio

Call the local police and request an escort. Chances are they will say no, but you have created legal documentation of the situation. On rare occasion ypu may get a cop that tells the receiver to let you park.

Bob
Bob

You need to driver for a company that doesn't have dispatchers . Than when a receiver treats you like that. You don't go back there and you get on a website and let others know how you where treated, and it cost them. When a carrier calls them and tells them their shipping rate has gone up their boss cares!! ONLY MONEY or the lack of Stops this.

Bill
Bill

All the local police will do is enforce trespassing laws in favor of the shipper/ receiver. I've been down that road already. No one cares about you being tired or out of hours. The last time I was told to leave a rest area ramp at midnight in a white out snow storm. I told the trooper I was out of hours and had even gone over a little to find a place to park. I told him I was tired and that I wanted his name and badge # so if I was involved in an accident I would have proof that I tried to do the right thing. He asked for my log book, wrote me up for going 30 min. Over and still made me leave violating it again trying to find another place to park. WTF? You can't win at this. The gov. Knows we can't. This is a way to fine the hell out of us for money. Plain and simple.

redjeb
redjeb

Looks good on paper that's all that maters. With ELDs you can't lie anymore about being low or out of hours. This rule is a joke.

Charlie
Charlie

You can cheat on an ELD. I watched a TMC driver do it the other night. Pretty slick if you ask me.

Tomahawk
Tomahawk

Yeah, but paper loggers are the bad guys, right? We're pretty slick, too. The whole point of ELDs was it was foolproof. It was sold by fools. Fools are buying it. That's about it. There isn't much difference between the ELDs currently in use, and paper. But that will not be the case with "letter of the law" ELDs. And that's what I think most are missing the point on. If they knew this, they may actually help us "paper pushers" rescind this stupid mandate. Oh, but to get them to listen.

Thomas Duncan
Thomas Duncan

You are not up to date fellow, yes you can now but when fully implemented it will be tamper proof, tied into the truck computer,tied into gps, and scanable ....you will be ran from behind a desk...and if you will not do it there is an endless supply of cheap labor waiting in line.That is all it has been about since going to the CDL....you would have to have been out here for many years to understand what I am saying

Charlie
Charlie

I never said he moved. He just worked it to where he could get back rollin quicker. They won't make me run them. I'll sell or just quit. 30 yrs with no babysitter in the truck, not gonna start now.

Bob
Bob

I have been out here and you are right. You can't make a good living trying to find ways how to beat the system . They just keep changing the rules in the name of safety and making it more unsafe. I don't know how to stop them other than to change the people who think the way they do.but let's try.

Pratap Sooraj
Pratap Sooraj

DOT has big role to force driver to drive out of hours.They should include DOT with carrier,Brokers, and shipper because DOT is big reason to force driver to drive illegally. I mean when DOT pulls you on shoulders of highway for inspection and you have limited hours for delivery or pick-up and they takes 45 mins to an hour for inspection and drivers get late for delivery or pick up that force drivers to go out of hours too. I know they could say you could do two hours off duty to go 14 hours but over the road there are more problems i.e. Traffic jam, miner breakdown, stop lights in cities, rush hours etc plus don't know how much time Shippers and Receive took to load or unload the truck. Here are some solutions which could help to keep everybody safe on the road. * DOT should not pull trucks on shoulders to inspect them. * All trucks on highway should only be in weight stations just to check weight not for inspection. * If DOT is not behind money and really care about public safety then they shouldn't stop trucks for inspection while truckers are on the way to do their job. DOT has all truck companies Data. They should schedule their inspection with carrier in their local city twice a year or once in quarter as their previous inspection report. This way carriers will keep their trucks up to date. Plus no truck be escaped from inspection. * Shippers and Receivers service should be open 24 hours. They should not scheduled appointments for pick-up and Delivery. This way truckers will not be forced by anybody. * Shipper and Receive should load and unload trucks with in two hours period. * Middleman which are Brokers seems to guzzling money from customers and offer very little to carriers. Brokers should offer the decent money to carriers so carriers stop avoiding turnpikes and choose faster and shortest way plus pay good to drivers plus use money to keep trucks up to date. * Carriers should be in unity and say no to cheap freight. Driver should pay decent amount because they stay out of home, far from family. Carriers should consider trucks maintenance, decent pay check to driver, say no to cheap freight. Even fuel is low now but tolls and maintenance go high every year. I hope if things go this way then there will be a major change on highway risk.

Rip jordan
Rip jordan

Why is fine not payed to owner operator who lost money !!! Rip

jOE sCHMOE
jOE sCHMOE

PREDICTION: there will be almost NO reports because this rule answers a question nobody asked. Drivers making a complaint will get less miles and quit after their paycheck becomes half what it used to be.

Craig Vecellio
Craig Vecellio

No. The rule clearly states the burden of proof is on the driver. All the carrier has to do is say ok when you indicate the load would force you to drive out of hours. That alone disqualifies the complaint because there is no threat. From there any retaliation is legal without a provable link to the questionable load or loads. Most disreputable carriers have a system for handling this that coerces the driver discreetly, and that's what this fails to deal with.

Scorned
Scorned

That would be retaliation and easy to prove with drivders historical dispatch records prior to the filing, and then records showing a reduction in distance and number of dispatches. A driver may even be protected under the whistle blower protection act from retalitory action. Then under civil complaint you may be entitled for damages of lost wages. If you want to play the game.

jOE sCHMOE
jOE sCHMOE

The employer will say: 1) business has slowed down 2) the specific dispatcher(s) assigned to the driver found other drivers available at the time 3) It was anew dispatcher getting to know the driver 4) ELD location logs say the driver was "out of position" when instructed to be elsewhere. 4) the driver used too much fuel and was verbally warned to be more efficient 5) failed to attend required safety meeting on such-and-such date It will NOT be easy to prove....

Scorned
Scorned

The burden of proof would be on company at this point. A verbal warnings is not evidence. Paper trail is what is important and when a lawyer files for disclosure for dispatch documents and warning and attendance files, that is proof. Like I said, if you want to play the game. But as a driver you have to learn to play the paper game as well and Memo for Record everything. Other wise, yep roll over and be allegiant.

Charlie
Charlie

Schmoe is right. The company can say anything. What happens if what they say is true and are fined anyway. That's just as wrong. This rule is unenforceable. I call BS.

Tomahawk
Tomahawk

All it will take is money to hang on while the driver's making the challenge. How many can hang on that long? Hire a lawyer? Who ends up getting paid? It's not as simple as the picture you're painting. Or as pretty, either.

lol
lol

No one, i repeat no one can force business to hire, keep or do something to keep "cry baby" that brings losses to the company. Dont belive me? drivers mentality ? do it by yourself, play the game ;)

Scorned
Scorned

True that, but if they are truly costing the company money and not just annoying the referees. I intend to play the game when and if I am forced to do something illegal. For know, I just roll with the punches and there will be a time when the opponent crosses the line and fouls. Most professional drivers are at the disadvantage because they do not know the technology the Company is using against them. As a driver you have to learn about the electronic files, the electronic records created and how the the company uses against the driver. The driver has to learn to use the same equipment and information against the company.

Scorned
Scorned

True. It will take money. Best bet, if you are being abused and forced to violate safety and law is to leave under good terms and find another company.

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