Dupré Logistics


FMCSA Coercion Rule

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It’s no secret that the logistics industry runs tight schedules.

Ninety percent of shipping companies operate with six or fewer trucks, placing incredible strain on resources. And the larger truck companies are certainly not exempt from the stress, often aiming to cover even more ground under intense scrutiny.

It is this scrutiny that has, for too long, motivated companies to ignore the Hours of Service rules, justifying unhealthy working hours for drivers and detention times.

But a new rule proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration aims to put a stop to these unfair and unrealistic pressures, and officials are hoping it drives trucking companies to rethink their processes.

It’s called the “coercion rule,” and it targets motor carriers, logistics operators and shippers alike, hitting them with a fine of up to $11,000 per incident if they are found guilty of threatening drivers with “loss of a job, denial of subsequent loads, reduced payment, denied access to the best trips, etc.” if he or she refuses to operate a truck under circumstances that knowingly violates federal truck safety rules

The U.S. logistics and transportation industry spends an estimated $1.33 trillion annually. Of this, the trucking industry generates an estimated $97.9 billion annually, covering 432.9 billion miles by way of the estimated 15.5 million trucks on the road.

That’s a lot of ground to cover, and, for a truck driver, a lot of revenue to have on your back.

At March’s Transportation and Logistics Council in Nashville, Tennessee, FMCSA’s Anne S. Ferro noted that “Safety has got to be part of the supply chain [and] part of logistics planning, just as sustainability and efficiency are.”

Ferro went on to say that detention times represent “not just inefficiency in the supply chain, but inefficiency that is placed on the back of truckers and for which they are not compensated.”

Under the agency’s proposed rule, truck drivers would have 60 days to file a formal complaint with an FMCSA division administrator via either e-mail, letter, social media or phone call.

At Dupre Logistics, we provide “Safe Service that’s Profitable.” We consider safety one of the most important aspects of managing the supply chain and refuse to risk our driver’s health by taking short cuts. With our expertise, we do not have to negotiate with harm in order to achieve results.

The question that remains is whether or not these other drivers will feel compelled to do what many would consider “whistle blowing” without the same protections and glory offered in other industries; does the Surface Transportation Assistance Act do enough to facilitate workplace fairness for truck drivers? What, unfortunately, gets overlooked, though, is that these issues go beyond fairness. As is not the case in other industries, the issues being faced by logistics companies reflect the industry’s position on safety for both truck drivers and non-commercial drivers, which is a much bigger issue than industry leaders are currently acknowledging.

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