Safety & Compliance

Requirements for Revised Medical Exam Form to be Delayed

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is expected to extend its deadline for certified medical examiners to transition to newly revised driver examination forms. As part of the 2015 Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration Final Rule, medical examiners are required to use the revised Medical Long Form (MCSA-5875) and Medical Examination Certification (med card) (MCSA-5876) beginning December 22, 2015. Due to technical difficulties in creating the form however, FMCSA is expected to announce an extension of the deadline soon. GAWDA will notify members once a new deadline has been formally announced. In addition to the anticipated extension, FMCSA is also expected to release a frequently asked questions document addressing some concerns raised about changes to the forms and their impacts.

FMCSA Issues Final Rule Against Coercion of Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a final rule prohibiting motor carriers, shippers, receivers or transportation intermediaries from coercing drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, including drivers’ hours-of-service limits, the commercial driver’s license regulations, drug and alcohol testing rules, and the Hazardous Materials Regulations. 80 Fed. Reg. 74695 (November 30, 2015).

This rule includes procedures for drivers to report incidents of coercion to FMCSA, establishes rules of practice that the agency will follow in response to reports of coercion, and describes penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers. The new rule is effective as of January 29, 2016. Three years ago, Congress mandated that the FMCSA develop and promulgate the rule.

Commercial truck drivers have had whistle-blower protection through the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration since 1982, when the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) was adopted. The STAA and OSHA regulations protect drivers and other individuals working for commercial motor carriers from retaliation for reporting or engaging in activities related to certain commercial motor vehicle safety, health, or security conditions. The STAA provides whistleblower protection for drivers who report coercion complaints under this final rule and are then retaliated against by their employer.

In June 2014, the FMCSA and OSHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the agencies regarding the anti-retaliation provision of the STAA. The Memorandum allows for the exchange of safety, coercion, and retaliation allegations, when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.

For more information on what constitutes coercion and how to submit a complaint to FMCSA, see the FMCSA webpage on Coercion. According to the FMCSA, coercion may be found to have taken place even if a regulatory violation has not occurred. An example of coercion is when a motor carrier terminates a driver for refusing to accept a load that would require the driver to violate the hours of service requirements. The FMCSA states that following must occur in order for coercion to have existed:

  • A motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary requests a driver to perform a task that would result in the driver violating certain provisions of the FMCSRs or HMRs;
  • The driver informs the motor carrier shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary of the violation that would occur if the task is performed, such as driving over the hours of service limits or creating unsafe driving conditions; and
  • The motor carrier shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary makes a threat or takes action against the driver’s employment or work opportunities to get the driver to perform the requested task.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association