The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released their much anticipated Driver Coercion Final Rule on 11-30-15. The federal register entry reads as follows: DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 49 CFR Parts 386 and 390 [Docket No. FMCSA20120377] RIN 2126AB57 Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Final rule. SUMMARY: FMCSA adopts regulations that prohibit motor carriers, shippers, receivers, or transportation intermediaries from coercing drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) including drivers hours-of-service limits; the commercial drivers license (CDL) regulations; drug and alcohol testing rules; and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs). In addition, the rule prohibits anyone who operates a CMV in interstate commerce from coercing a driver to violate the commercial regulations. This rule includes procedures for drivers to report incidents of coercion to FMCSA, establishes rules of practice that the Agency will follow in response to reports of coercion, and describes penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers. This rulemaking is authorized by section 32911 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP 21) and the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (MCSA), as amended. DATES: This final rule is effective January 29, 2016. Petitions for Reconsideration of this final rule must be submitted to FMCSA Administrator no later than December 30, 2015. It basically says that no one can force a driver to violate any part of the regulations especially CDL and HOS. Doing things like cutting loads or other means to get back at a driver or force a driver to violate the rules is now against the regulations. If the FMCSA is doing an audit or gets a complaint of driver coercion and can prove that you forced a driver to violate the regulations then you will get an additional fine over what would be expected for any other violations that have been found. Also I see this as a tool for drivers to possibly use to get back at carriers who make them mad. A member has pointed out that now enforcement will be able to reach out with the rule to also say it is coercion when the company complains a driver is driving too slow or when a driver claims they are sick and therefore cant work and the company tells him you can take the load or turn in your stuff. Then there's the matter of a claim of fatigue. The driver can claim that he/she is too tired to go another 15 miles even though they might have 2 hours left on my driving time. When a dispatcher ask that driver Are you sure? Its only 15 miles. This could possibly be construed as coercion.
December 2, 2015