U.S. Transportation Department Bans Commercial Drivers Convicted of Human Trafficking

Annie Sovcik, Esq., program director for Busing on the Lookout, speaking before members of the California Association for School Transportation Officials in 2018. (Photo by David George.)
Annie Sovcik, Esq., program director for Busing on the Lookout, speaking before members of the California Association for School Transportation Officials in 2018. (Photo by David George.)

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a final rule that permanently bans drivers convicted of human trafficking from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for which a commercial driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit is required.


“This is an important step in the Department-wide campaign to keep America’s roadways, railways, airways, and waterways from being used for human trafficking,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a statement on Tuesday.

Following President Trump’s signature of the “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act,” the FMCSA has issued this new rule to prohibit an individual from operating a CMV for life if that individual uses a CMV in committing a felony involving a severe form of human trafficking.

The new rule revises the list of offenses permanently disqualifying individuals from operating a CMV for which a commercial driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit is required.

The final rule states: “This final rule reflects a change made by Congress in the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act (the Act) which prohibits an individual from operating a CMV for life if that individual uses a CMV in committing a felony involving a severe form of human trafficking, adding to the list of other disqualifying offenses identified in statute.”

“The commercial motor vehicle industry is uniquely positioned to help detect and report human trafficking, and thankfully professional drivers’ efforts often bring an end to these tragic situations. Sadly, however, some human trafficking activities are facilitated by the use of commercial trucks or buses,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

Martinez added, “By enforcing a lifetime ban on any CMV driver convicted of severe human trafficking, we aim to deliver a strong and effective deterrent to this abhorrent behavior. If a commercial driver is convicted of using their commercial motor vehicle related to human trafficking—that person will never be driving interstate commercial vehicles again.”

On July 2, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking submitted its final report and provided recommendations on actions the DOT can take to help combat human trafficking. That report recommended best practices for states and local transportation stakeholders in combatting human trafficking.

In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security identified over 500 victims of human trafficking and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimated that one out of every seven runaways were likely victims of child sex trafficking.


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The issue was the subject of a presentation last month at the STN EXPO Indianapolis by Annie Sovcik, a representative of the Truckers Against Trafficking program, Busing on the Lookout (BOTL).

A similar presentation will be made at STN EXPO Reno on July 29.

“Truckers Against Trafficking is working to build a mobile army of transportation professionals dedicated to recognizing and reporting cases of human trafficking,” said Kendis Paris, executive director. “Any person, regardless of their livelihood, who is convicted of this heinous crime should face severe consequences in order to prevent future exploitation,” she told School Transportation News.

To report human trafficking activity, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888 or send a text to 233733.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to combat human trafficking.