The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking public comment on its proposed rules that prohibit coercing drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in violation of certain safety and commercial regulations. The rules apply to all parties in the supply chain, including shippers, receivers and transportation intermediaries, and target the pressure they may place on drivers to deliver a load or otherwise operate a CMV regardless of applicable regulations. Comments are due by August 11, 2014.

The proposed rules prohibit motor carriers, shippers, receivers and transportation intermediaries from coercing drivers to operate CMVs in circumstances that are known or should be known to require the driver to violate the following 49 CFR provisions:

  • Parts 171-173 or 177-180 (Hazardous Materials Regulations)
  • Parts 380-383 or 390-399 (Safety Regulations, including Driver Hours of Service, Driver Training, and Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing Rules)
  • §§ 385.105(b) or 385.111(a), (c)(1) or (g) (Suspension/ Revocation of Mexico-Domiciled-Carrier Authority
  • §§ 385.415 or 385.421 (Hazardous Materials Operational Requirements and Safety Permit Suspension/Revocation)

They also prohibit motor carriers from coercing drivers to operate CMVs under circumstances that are known or should be known to require the driver to violate 49 CFR Parts 356, 360, or 365-379 (Commercial Regulations, including Routing, Financial Responsibility and Operating Authority).

Under the rules, coercion means a threat to withhold, or the actual withholding of, current or future business, employment or work opportunities from a driver for objecting to the operation of a CMV.

Drivers subject to prohibited coercion may file a written complaint of coercion within 60 days of the coercion event. Any person who engages in prohibited coercion is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $11,000 per offense.

A copy of the proposed rules is published in the Federal Register.