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February 27, 2020 11:00 AM, EST

FMCSA to Study Prevalence of Harassment, Assaults Against Female, Minority Male Drivers

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has contracted with research firm Battelle to study and survey the prevalence, seriousness and nature of the problem of harassment and assaults against female and minority male truckers.

"FMCSA has accumulated evidence, both documentary and anecdotal, for a serious pattern of harassment- and assault-related crimes against female and minority male truckers,” the agency said in a Feb. 27 pre-publication announcement.

“For example, Security Journal, in a 2006 article titled ‘Workplace Violence against Female Long-haul Truckers,’ reported that 42% of female longhaul truckers reported experiencing one or more types of workplace violence,” the announcement said.

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The study and survey will not be used for a rulemaking, FMCSA said. The agency said interested persons are invited to submit written comments on the proposed information collection to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. Comments will be taken for 30 days after the announcement is published in the Federal Register, which is expected Feb. 28.

The agency said that before effective solutions for preventing or reducing the crimes against female and minority truckers can be developed and implemented, FMCSA must understand the scope of the problem.

“Currently, there is insufficient data,” FMCSA said. “The frequency and number of harassment- and assault-related crimes occurring, the portion that are unreported, and reasons for underreporting are unknown.”

Currently, FMCSA does not provide materials or training to truckers, including minority and female truckers, on how to protect themselves from being stalked, harassed, assaulted or robbed.

FMCSA said the exploratory survey, although limited in scale and scope, will be a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data that will help the agency to understand “the nature and extent of the problem and begin to formulate an approach to reducing it.”

The survey is expected to be presented to a maximum of 880 truck drivers — 80 respondents reporting no incidents of harassment or crime, plus 800 respondents reporting one or more incidents of harassment or crime.

The survey of professional truck drivers will be limited to female and minority male drivers, and will ask whether the drivers have experienced race- or gender-related harassment or crimes on the job. FMCSA said if the driver has had such an experience, the survey will ask follow-up questions on where and when the incidents occurred, any information the respondent knows about the perpetrator and whether the respondent reported the incident.

The survey will be anonymous, and none of the questions will ask for information that could identify the respondent or any perpetrators involved. The survey will be taken both online and with in-person interviews. Identical questions will be asked of all drivers, but answers from males and females will be analyzed separately.

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Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle statisticians, experienced in surveys and in analyzing data for FMCSA, will execute the analysis. Findings will be presented in a report that will be made available on the agency’s website so that interested stakeholders and the public will be aware of the findings, FMCSA said.

“If study findings indicate a significant problem that merits action, FMCSA may consider developing training or outreach materials to help truckers protect themselves from crime or harassment,” the announcement said. “Such training or outreach materials could help foster motor carriers’ employee retention efforts and help make the truck driving profession more attractive to a greater range of people.”

The announcement said that Ellen Voie, president of Women In Trucking Association, and Desiree Wood, president of Real Women in Trucking Inc., welcomed the survey. Wood said her group has been receiving distress calls related to sexual misconduct related to entry-level driver training fleets for over 10 years.

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