The Department of Transportation published a final rule for driver coercion. It outlines new fines for carriers, brokers, shippers and anyone else who pressures truck drivers to operate outside of federal safety regulations. Drivers are coerced into maintaining operation based on threats of fewer miles, fewer loads and other economic harm.
Coercion is defined as, “A threat…to withhold business, employment or work opportunities from or to take or permit any adverse employment action against a driver in order to induce the trucker to drive under conditions which the driver stated would require him or her to violate one or more of FMCSA regulations.”
As of January 29, 2016, coercers could pay up to $16,000 in fines for attempts to force drivers to remain in operation when it would violate federal rules to do so, such as not following Hours of Service regulations. This penalty is $5,000 higher than the original proposal of $11,000 last year by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The rule also establishes the necessary protocol for drivers to report acts of coercion to the FMCSA for an investigation and the minimum criteria needed to launch said investigation. Drivers are required to file complaints within 90 days of the incident and must provide any evidence, such as messages or phone conversations.
The rule is also in part related to the coming electronic logging device mandate.
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