Carriers 101 on Coercion

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When a D.O.T. auditor shows up to investigate about a driver you had or currently employee, and they discover you scheduling requires him to break FMCSA regulations . . . the driver may not be the one on the hot seat.  When the auditor asks for your explanation . . .
  • I thought it was ok . . .
  • We’ve always done it this way. . .
  • No one ever told me . . .
  • I fired him because he wouldn’t do his scheduled route in time . . .

and other variations on a carrier’s  “its-not-my-fault” explanations will not fly now that  ‘driver coercion” was added by the D.O.T. in its effort to go beyond roadside inspections and gain more FMCSA compliance from Carriers. (Read More:   DOT roadside Inspections enforcement status  and 10 Hours of Duty Rule)

FMCSA backs drivers with coercion rule  : Kevin Jones

A new rule to protect drivers from being compelled to violate federal safety regulations is set to publish today in the Federal Register. Known as the “driver coercion” rule, it provides FMCSA with the authority to go after not only carriers, but also shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries. ( read more )


What is Coercion?

Such actions are used as leverage, to force or leverage the victim to act in a way contrary to their own interests.


A driver is given a route  which he points out  is impossible to complete without going over the 11 hrs driving and or 14 hrs on-duty DOT rule.  If the driver reluctantly accepts the task because they fear the loss of their position or their job it could be considered coercion.  Accidents and road side inspections with a citation will go hard on the carrier, especially if the driver challenges their citation because of coercion.


Caller Angry about Your Driver? Carpe Diem

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Try printing out this form.  If you use this form, it will collect in an online spreadsheet.  Put your email next to your name in the form and it will be sent to you.   It may be useful. When that angry person is making that call, 9 times out of 10 they are driving near your truck, distracted because they on on their cell phone concentrating on telling you what they just experienced.  Get a grip on safety.  Make a win win out of the call by making the experience, short, guided and polite.  Leave some information in the comment section.  I’m interested in your experiences with angry driver call-ins.


Click Here to notify me that you want your report.

Click Here for the kind of Form you would use to share this with your driver.


      Driver Safety Incident Call-In Form


Description of Information Received:

Who, What , Where, When

Map giving proof of incident and driver involved.


Map picture

A PrntScr of your  online map showing the location works pasted (ctrl-V) does well here.

Fault Statement :

This is not a statement of fault.  It is a document to inform you of how people felt about their safety when they are on the road with True World Foods Miami Truck, while you were driving.


We are creating this document to let you be aware of this incident.  If there is any way to improve the safety of your driving we are confident you will do so.

Previous Incidents:

12/19/12 Road rage incident as result of maneuvering (lane changes) in heavy traffic

2/21/13 Reckless lane change accusation

Corrective Action Criteria:

In our effort to be a responsible company, we require our drivers, who receive such call-ins,  to attend a 20 min refresher session for Driver Road Safety.  Arrangements will be made together with your supervisor to set the time and date for this refresher course.


Driver Name                                                         Date


Available for Refresher Safety Course Date and Time, if applicable.


Supervisor                                                           Date


DOT CSA Improvements 2012

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English: Graph outlining the relationship betw...

English: Graph outlining the relationship between number of hours driving and incidents of crashes involving truck drivers in the United States. All hours over 12 are combined, due to the low number of sample data. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ‘improvements’ , noted below, have to do with larger trucks than the straight, refrigerated, non-CDL cargo truck of this targeted audience . Other improvements, useful to our readers, are aimed at letting the ‘carrier’ better manage the status of their fleet and drivers as viewed from the DOT’s perspective as well as their overall safety profile. This is especially useful to help the ‘carrier’ manage behaviors which could eventually affect the finances and overall operability of the ‘carrier’.

==== Recent DOT Carrier Outreach Notice =====

The Safety Measurement System (SMS) enhancements are here. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is announcing the implementation of 11 changes to the November snapshot of SMS. These changes reflect public input, following a preview period that began in March 2012. During that period, more than 19,000 carriers and 2,900 law enforcement personnel viewed the SMS preview data and provided comments.
For more information about these most recent changes, see the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Website ( or the FMCSA news release under News & Alerts ( Motor carriers can keep track of their data on the SMS Website ( and find out more about the SMS improvements.
FMCSA remains committed to CSA and making enhancements in an open and transparent manner to further reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. The Agency values the input of all safety stakeholders and actively seeks constructive input and new ideas that will further improve safety on our Nation’s roadways. To submit a question or contact a member of our team, visit

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See Road Damage? What would you do?

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Heading West on the Gratigny Parkway Miami, FL December 14th 10am.  After having gone over this road damage many times this year I decided to do something about it.  While riding in truck as a passenger I decided to take a picture on the fly.  Here it is.


Next to the yellow line this hole has been getting bigger and bigger.  You can see metal rebar exposed now.   As you can tell, this is pretty high off the ground.  Maybe 50’ .  Today, after making almost 15 or 20 phone calls with many dead ends and hearing ‘. . . that’s not our responsibility. . . call this number ######.”    $#&^$&^^%*(&^%*%$.  


I finally succeeded by calling . . .

The Florida Highway Patrol  305-376-4303

The officer did not want my picture and assumed he knew where I was speaking of.  I may never know.  BUT   after spending so much time I’m going to make the most of the effort.

BOTTOMLINE:  Be an owner of the situation, it may be your family that benefits.

Why Record Duty Status

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The ‘Hours of Service‘ regulations are among the most often violated of the FMCSR.  Although intentional violations account for a significant proportion of all citations, a lack of knowledge and understanding of the regulations, their applicability, and the driver’s duty status register results in many citations and fines.



The rules are applicable to all Commercial Motor Vehicles  ( CMV) which transport property:

  • Their employers
  • Their employees
  • this site does not apply to other categories which may apply


  • Gross Motor Vehicle Weight (GVWR) greater  than 10,001 lbs.
  • This site does not work with the other categories which may apply


“. . . no motor carrier (employer) shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive nor shall any such driver drive . . . ” (~395.3(a))

The Federal DOT places responsibility for compliance with the regulations on both the driver and the employer, as stated in FMCSR Section 390.3_

  • The employer shall be knowledgeable of and comply with all regulations contained in this subchapter which are applicable to that motor carrier’s operation (~390.3(e)(1))
  • The driver shall be instructed regarding, and shall comply with all applicable regulations contained in this subchapter. (~395.3(e) (2)


      Drivers or Employers who violate the hours-of-service rules face serious penalties:

  • Drivers may be placed ‘out-of-service’ (shut down) at roadside until the driver has accumulated enough off-duty time to be back in compliance;
  • Sate and local enforcement officials may assess fines:
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSR) may levy civil penalties on the driver or carrier, ranging from $550 to $11,000 per violation depending on severity;
  • The employer’s safety rating can be downgraded for a pattern of violations; and
  • Federal criminal penalties can be brought  against employers who knowingly and willfully allow or require hours-of-service violations.

Some examples of common violations and the penalties resulting from enforcement activities:

  • A motor carrier charged with 13 counts of false reports of records of duty status and one count of failing to require driver to forward records of duty status within 13 days of completion.  Fine – $5,700.
  • An employer was charged with three counts of requiring or permitting drivers to drive without 10 hours of off duty time, and 21 counts of false reports of record-of-duty status.  Fine – $14,475.


Section 395.3 contains the three basic rules limiting the amount of time the driver of a property-carrying CMV may drive. 

  • ll hours driving :  A driver may not drive a CMV for more than 11 cumulative hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty.  With ‘*adverse driving’ you may add 2 hours to finish the run or reach a safe stopping place.
  • 14 Hours on Duty: A driver may not drive a CMV after the end of the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. With ‘*adverse driving’ you may add 2 hours to finish the run or reach a safe stopping place.


Unforeseeable, adverse driving conditions are encountered the driver is allowed to  Add 2 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty.

The following is an example of non-compliance with the 10 off duty rule:


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