The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a final rule designed to protect commercial truck and bus drivers from being forced by their employers or others to violate federal safety regulations.
The rule provides procedures for commercial truck and bus drivers to report incidents of coercion to the FMCSA as well as steps the agency could take when responding to such allegations and penalties it can impose on entities found to have coerced drivers.
“No commercial driver should ever feel compelled to bypass important federal safety regulations and potentially endanger the lives of all travelers on the road,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling.
FMCSA said it developed the final rule after hearing from drivers who reported being coerced into violating hours-of-service limitations, CDL requirements, drug and alcohol testing and the transportation of hazardous materials, among others.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has provided commercial drivers with whistle-blower protections since 1982 with the implementation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA).
In June 2014, FMCSA and OSHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the agencies regarding the anti-retaliation provision of the STAA. FMCSA said the Memorandum allows for the exchange of safety, coercion, and retaliation allegations, when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.