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FMCSA nearing release of proposed rule to thwart coercion of truck drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is expected to soon issue proposed regulations prohibiting carriers, shippers, receivers or intermediaries from coercing truck drivers to violate federal safety regulations.  

The White House’s Office of Management & Budget signed off on FMCSA’s proposal with changes on April 30.

The prohibition against driver coercion is one of several measures in the MAP-21 transportation program reauthorization act of 2012 that gave FMCSA additional enforcement tools.

FMCSA issued a final rule in October that implemented a number of those provisions without seeking public comment.

Earlier this year, FMCSA issued a final rule setting out its policies and procedures for handling the suspension or revocation of a carrier’s registration if the carrier or anyone with controlling influence over the carrier’s operations is found to have engaged in a pattern of avoiding compliance.

Yet FMCSA still must finish or begin 29 rulemakings required by MAP-21, including the prohibition against coercion rule and major rules already proposed, such as for electronic logging devices and a drug and alcohol clearinghouse.

The Dept. of Transportation’s budget request for the next fiscal year seeks funding to hire two more attorneys to work through FMCSA’s backlog.

Meanwhile, DOT’s Grow America Act seeks additional FMCSA enforcement powers and flexibilities.

It would appear, however, that most of the motor carrier provisions could be adopted in a single regulation without comment--  as the agency did in October with many of the MAP-21 requirements.

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