The coercion ruling: Why working with the right 3PL is more important than ever

Posted by Harriet Mills on Feb 24, 2016 2:42:28 PM

Ever heard of the coercion ruling? If you are a 3PL, the answer is an emphatic yes. Created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the coercion ruling holds accountable brokers, carriers, receivers, shippers and anyone else who may attempt to push drivers into violating existing transportation legislation in order to deliver a shipment more quickly.

The FMCSA specifically defines such punishable activity as follows: “Coercion occurs when a motor carrier, shipper, receiver or transportation intermediary threatens to withhold work from, take employment action against, or punish a driver for refusing to operate in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and the Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs).

In order for a claim of coercion to exist, a driver must reject an existing proposal from their business partner and identify the regulation they are being asked to violate. If it is determined the driver was asked to operate their vehicle in an illegal way, the broker, carrier, receiver or shipper could face a fine of as much as $16,000. The severity of the fine is a clear indicator of the importance of this legislation.

Support for the coercion ruling should be universal as we all recognize that delivery of goods shouldn’t come at a risk to the safety of the driver or the other motorists on the road.

That’s why we make sure that all staff members at Choptank Transport are trained, not only on the ruling itself but also on the specific vehicle weight limits and drive-time limitations drivers face. Our team is coached to discuss the trip with the driver at the very beginning of the conversation to ensure that delivery by the predetermined date will not be difficult. We also make it clear to our customers that regulations such as the HOS (Hours of Service) ruling can sometimes interfere with delivery expectations. And we want to hear realistic answers from the drivers as well, because we find that an open, honest dialogue is the best way to protect against coercion and missed deadlines down the road.

To learn more about the coercion ruling, go to

Have comments about this ruling? We love to hear from you.

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Tags: Careers & Culture

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