Trucking companies seek to make a profit just like any other kind of business. However, that motive can cause them to sidestep safety rules and endanger their drivers. In fact, many trucking companies are actually guilty of coercing their drivers to violate federal trucking safety rules via threats, bonuses, punishments and other forms of manipulation. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created a new rule to prevent this kind of dangerous coercion.
The FMCSA will have the ability to penalize receivers, shippers, transportation intermediaries and motor carriers in cases where they coerce truck drivers to violate safety rules. The rule allows enforcement action to be taken against any transportation-related company that recklessly endangers a truck driver and other drivers on the road in three primary ways.
First, the new coerced safety violation rule creates a procedure for truckers and bus drivers to inform the FMCSA of safety coercion incidents. Second, the rule outlines steps to be taken by the agency in response to coercion allegations. Third, the rule establishes penalties that can be inflicted upon companies that coerce drivers.
One common example of coercion involves a demand on truck drivers that requires them to meet a deadline when the truck driver has clearly indicated that the schedule cannot be safely met without violating restrictions on hours of service. It is coercion when a driver is pressured to violate safety rules.
Whenever a commercial truck accident happens in Illinois and it causes injuries, injured parties will want to determine if any safety violations contributed to the crash. If it can be shown in civil court that a truck driver or trucking company’s safety violations caused a crash, then injured parties may be able to receive financial compensation for their injuries and damages stemming from the accident.
Source: Trucking News Online, “FMCSA Final Rule Protects Truck Drivers from Coerced Safety Violations,” Nov. 30, 2015