The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to fine transportation officials $11,000 each time they coerce drivers to disobey hours of service requirements, commercial-drivers license policies and other regulations.
The fines would apply to shippers, intermediaries, receivers or motor carriers who threaten drivers with unemployment if provisions laid out in the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations (FMCSR) or the Hazardous Materials Regulations aren’t disobeyed.
In its posting in the Federal Register
, the agency wrote that the rule would provide a way for drivers to report coercion, detail how the agency would investigate such claims, and list penalties against guilty parties.
“Economic pressure in the motor carrier industry affects commercial drivers in ways that can affect safety adversely. For years, drivers have voiced concerns that other parties in the logistics chain are frequently indifferent to the operational limits imposed on them,” the agency wrote.
“Drivers may be pressured to operate vehicles with mechanical deficiencies, despite the restrictions imposed by the safety regulations,” it continued. “Drivers who object that they must comply with the FMCSRs are sometimes told to get the job done despite the restrictions imposed by the safety regulations. The consequences of their refusal to do so are either stated explicitly or implied in unmistakable terms: Loss of a job, denial of subsequent loads, reduced payment, denied access to the best trips, etc.”
The proposed rule has a 90-day comment period.