FMCSA, OSHA to Work Together on Coercion Claims

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening coordination between the agencies in investigating truck driver safety, coercion and retaliation complaints against motor carriers.

“This strengthened partnership with OSHA extends our interagency collaboration specifically to include the sharing of reports of alleged coercion – companies forcing or intimidating truck or bus drivers to violate federal safety regulations,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said in a July 24 statement. “Pressuring drivers to stay behind the wheel beyond their hours-of-service limits, or to disregard other federal safety rules, seriously jeopardizes the safety of every traveler on our highways and roads.”

The memo was signed only four months after a Government Accountability Office report criticized the agencies for moving slowly in formalizing each’s responsibilities in investigating and acting on the more than 300 whistleblower complaints each year from drivers and other motor carrier employees.

While GAO concluded that OSHA’s investigative process has generally improved in recent years, the March 2014 report said the cooperation between OSHA and FMCSA “can be strengthened,” and OSHA conceded that there was “room for improvement.”