Safety + Health Magazine – On November 30th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued its final rule on prohibiting the coercion of truck drivers. The new legislation allows FMCSA to take action against employers who attempt to coerce drivers into breaking safety regulations to meet schedules. These actions include fines up to $16,000. Effective January 29th, 2015, this rule applies to motor carriers, shippers, receivers, freight-forwarders, brokers and other intermediary roles.
From 2009 to 2012, OSHA received 253 whistleblower complaints of coercion submitted by CMV drivers. FMCSA confirmed an additional 20 cases. Many drivers alleged they were being threatened with severe consequences if they did not meet production demands including: Implicit or explicit threats of job loss, denial of future trips or loads, cut in pay, and forfeiture of preferred work hours.
Excessive or prolonged hours of operation for drivers pose significant risks to the safety and health of the drivers. With decreased energy, focus, and reaction time, drivers quickly become a danger to not only themselves, but everyone around them.
Drivers must file all complaints within 90 days of the alleged coercion, including sufficient evidence of coercive language through saved text messages, emails, or witness statements. You can file all complaints through the FMCSA database here.