New federal rule addresses coercion of truck drivers

Posted on December 4, 2015

Truck driver decisions have big implications. They can be the difference between a truck trip being uneventful and a truck trip resulting in a collision that exposes the driver and other individuals to great harm.

An important thing to remember about truck driver decisions is that they can be influenced by parties other than the truck driver. For example, things that motor carriers, brokers, receivers and shippers say and do can have effects on what truck drivers decide to do out on the roads and in relation to their trucks.

Thus, one would hope such parties would encourage truck drivers to make safe decisions and would avoid doing things that could drive truck drivers to unsafe decisions. Unfortunately, sometimes, such parties do the exact opposite and actually try to coerce truck drivers into engaging unsafe conduct for the sake of profits.

For example, incidents occasionally occur in which these sorts of parties threaten truck drivers with adverse employment actions to get them to violate federal trucking regulations. A new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule has been finalized that targets this coercive conduct. The rule makes this conduct itself a federal violation.

Under the new rule, truck drivers can report suspected violations of this rule to the federal government. The penalties parties found to have violated this rule could face include a revocation of operating authority and a fine of up to $16,500. The rule will go into force in late January.

One hopes the new rule will help reduce the occurrence of truck drivers being coerced to act unsafely.

Just as truck driver decisions can be influenced by many parties, truck accidents can be the result of the conduct of many different parties. Truck accident lawyers can sort through the various details of an accident for a truck accident victim to help shed some light on how specifically the accident happened and who was likely at-fault in it.

Source: Land Line Magazine, “FMCSA takes first step in regulating against coercion of truck drivers,” Jami Jones, Nov. 30, 2015