Tucker Blog

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Highway Act Criminalizes Coercing Drivers to Break Law

Ever told a driver to be on time, or else? After October 2013, this seemingly innocent act of business urgency may bring down criminal sanctions. The new “Highway Bill”, called MAP-21, includes new and revised provisions that essentially criminalize several fairly common practices in the interest of promoting safety.

One of the handful of “game-changers” that became law with MAP-21 is the “prohibition of coercion” provision, which criminalizes certain behaviors aimed at pushing on-time performance where a truck driver must bend or break hours of service rules or other safety measures. A rulemaking from FMCSA to clarify how this law will be enforced is expected in early 2014. In any event, shippers, brokers, anyone who hires a motor carrier, must be very careful in their communications with carriers, or risk losing insurance coverage — or worse — facing criminal penalties!