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  : FleetOwner.com 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 )

Vocabulary:

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.

Example:

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.

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Drivers Take Note: Left Lane is for Passing: Now Florida Law

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Hat TIp: Wesley Chapel Community.Com

I got a call from a person driving behind one of our trucks today.  They told me our driver was driving along as he pleased in the ‘passing lane’  without consideration for those who wanted to pass behind him.  He called us as a courtesy to inform that this is now against the law to simply drive to your destination in the left most lane.  He was calling from the FL Turnpike.   I searched and this is what I found . . .  the caller was correct. Drivers who stay in the passing lane too long may be trolling for a traffic ticket.  

Driving below the speed of traffic in the left hand lane of any multi-lane road in Florida is not only annoying, it is now illegal thanks to 2014 revisions to Florida’s Laws.

According to the newly revised Florida State Statute 316.081, “a driver may not continue to operate a motor vehicle in the furthermost left-hand lane if the driver knows or reasonably should know that he or she is being overtaken in that lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed.”

What is the cost for such a violation?  In Pasco County it will cost violators $164 and three points on their driver license if ticketed. To be reasonable the law has two common sense exemptions where one may continue to drive in the left lane for a short period of time.

  1. You are not required to move over to be passed if you are passing someone yourself.
  2. You are not required to move over to be passed if you are about to make a left hand turn at a nearby intersection.

Short of those exemptions, it is now illegal to continually drive in the left lane when others are behind you.  If approached from behind (regardless of speed) you must move over and allow other’s to pass you.

Experts in traffic and transportation say that if followed, this law will significantly reduce road rage issues, and allow for more efficient travel for all. Public awareness is the key to success

Road Rage and Personal Safety

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Roadrage 2003

Roadrage 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Driver Safety is Paramount:

The driver should feel they are allowed to make the best decision in order to assure their personal safety due to road rage.

General advice:

Whether there is physical damage or not, it is best that you stay at the scene, if possible. Call 911. Explain you are ‘afraid for your safety because of another driver’s road rage’. Follow their instructions.

While waiting for the police to arrive:

DO NOT LOOK THE ENRAGED DRIVER IN THE EYE

DO NOT RELATE / INTERACT WITH THE ENRAGED DRIVER

DO NOT GET OUT OF THE VEHICLE

LOCK THE DOORS, KEEP THE WINDOWS ROLLED UP

START WRITING YOUR REPORT.

LICENSE PLATE # MAKE AND MODEL OF THE VEHICLE

LOCATION

WHEN: TIME OF THE INCIDENT

WHEN ENRAGED DRIVER IS UNAWARE, TAKE AS MANY PICTURES OF EVERYTHING 360º AROUND YOU WITH YOUR CELL PHONE

Again, if you, the driver, feel that your personal safety is jeopardized, take appropriate action.

Road Rage Incident (Live Link)

In heavy, slow traffic a driver in front of our vehicle stops and gets out, pounds on our driver’s window, and yelling curses. There is no physical damage to the other vehicle.  Our driver is startled, concerned and leaves the scene at the first opportunity because there was no accident, and he is concerned for his personal safety. Driver calls in a report to his supervisor. Later, the Road Rage driver called the company, talks to whoever picks up, cursing and threatening to sue and doesn’t leave any information.

There are many probable outcomes from how this driver decided to handle this ‘road rage’ situation. Bottom-line: He was not harmed.

Here are a few:

Scams (live link)

This is one of the possible scenarios which could have developed if the driver stayed put in the example above.  This could also be a staged event to help sell car cams.  However, it demonstrates how helpless a driver can be when there is an intentional effort to create an accident.

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