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FMCSA Cuts Quarterly Financial Reports

Trucking companies no longer will be required to file quarterly financial reports to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency announced in the Federal Register.

Motor carriers that haul property or household goods now are subject to the rule if their annual gross transportation revenue exceeds $3 million. FMCSA is eliminating that requirement effective Jan. 14, although annual filings will remain mandatory.

The agency said the change affects about 110 companies and will save the industry about $9,990 annually.

"This paperwork burden is removed without an adverse impact on safety or the agency's ability to maintain effective commercial regulatory oversight over the for-hire trucking and passenger-carrying industries," the agency said.

The only public comment in opposition to the change came from SJ Consulting Group of Sewickley, Pa., after the rule was proposed in June 2012. The firm uses information from the reports to advise motor carriers, shippers and potential buyers of trucking companies, according FMCSA's notice in the Federal Register.

"It stated that the quarterly report filings provide useful insight into the U.S. trucking industry, such as operating statistics that are not available from other public sources, particularly for private carriers," FMCSA said.

The American Trucking Associations and National Motor Freight Traffic Association filed comments in support of the proposal during a 60-day public comment period.


Trucking company to pay more than $100,000 to blacklisted driver

Company found to have violated anti-retaliation protection provided whistleblowers...


Company found to have violated anti-retaliation protection provided whistleblowers

Trucking company to pay more than $100,000 to blacklisted driver

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An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that New Prime Inc. retaliated against a truck driver by blacklisting him in the commercial transport industry after he sought medical attention for a work-related injury. OSHA has ordered the Springfield, Mo.-based motor carrier to pay the former employee $100,994.24 in back wages and damages and take other corrective action.

The driver notified his supervisors in October 2008 that he sustained an on-the-job back injury and was seeking medical attention. In November, he provided documentation that the condition was serious enough to prevent him from returning to work because he had been prescribed medications that made operating a commercial motor vehicle unsafe. In July 2009, the driver's physician released him for full duty. He opted not to return to New Prime Inc. and began seeking employment elsewhere in the industry.

After being rejected for a job, the driver learned New Prime Inc. had submitted damaging and misleading information about his employment to a provider of pre-employment and drug testing screening services. The information appeared on the driver's Drive-A-Check Report, an employment history submitted by former employers in the trucking industry. The driver submitted a complaint with OSHA, alleging violation of the anti-retaliatory provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.

As a result, OSHA is ordering New Prime Inc. to pay the former employee lost wages, including interest, of $41,373.34, covering the time between July 1, 2009 and April 1, 2010; $40,000 in compensatory damages for pain, suffering, emotional distress and loss of home and property; and $20,000 in punitive damages in light of the company's reckless and callous disregard for the worker's rights under the STAA. The company must also expunge the complainant's employment and DAC Report records of any reference to his unlawful termination.

"Blacklisting an employee and sabotaging a worker's career is unacceptable. It can have a dangerous ripple effect if employees are compelled to drive when unwell or under medication because they are afraid they will lose their livelihood," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York, whose offices conducted the investigation. "OSHA will not tolerate employers retaliating against its employees for reporting violations, including forcing employees to operate commercial motor vehicles when doing so would be unsafe for the driver and the public."

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor. New Prime Inc. or the complainant may file objections or request a hearing before the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges within 30 days of receipt of OSHA's order.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the STAA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.