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What is Forced Dispatch and No Force Dispatch

Force dispatch in trucking refers to a situation where a carrier requires a driver to accept a load assignment even if the driver might prefer not to take that specific load. This can occur due to various reasons, such as tight scheduling, urgent delivery requirements, or limited available drivers.

In force dispatch scenarios, carriers may assign a load to a driver without giving them the option to decline based on their preferences or constraints. While this practice is sometimes necessary to ensure timely deliveries and efficient operations, it can lead to challenges if drivers are not adequately consulted or if the load’s details don’t align with their preferences, expertise, or available hours of service.

Is Forced Dispatch Illegal

Yes, FMCSA has ruled forced dispatch unlawful and illegal and they encourage drivers to report it. [to FMCSA and US Department of Labour]

Visit FMCSA’s Final Rule Prohibits Coercion, Protects Commercial Drivers to learn more.
80 FR 74695 – Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Drivers.

Valid Reasons to Decline a Load

Let’s take a look at what all the valid reasons are to decline a load.

  1. Hours of Service Limitations: If accepting the load would result in the driver exceeding their allowable hours of service as defined by the FMCSA, the driver has a valid reason to reject the load. Safety regulations regarding driving and rest times are paramount.
    Learn more about Hours Of Service here.

  2. Driver’s Health and Wellbeing: If the driver is unwell, fatigued, or otherwise not in a condition to safely operate the vehicle, they can reject the load to prioritize their health and the safety of others on the road.

  3. Vehicle Maintenance Issues: If the truck has mechanical issues that could compromise safety or result in a breakdown during transit, the driver might reject the load to ensure safe transportation.

  4. Load Characteristics: If the load is improperly secured, overweight, hazardous, or otherwise poses a safety risk that the driver is not equipped to handle, they can refuse the load.

  5. Violation of Regulations: If accepting the load would lead to a violation of federal or state regulations, such as transporting certain hazardous materials without the required permits, the driver can refuse.

  6. Contractual Agreements: If a driver has a contract with specific terms, such as a defined geographical area or type of cargo, and the forced dispatch contradicts these terms, they may have grounds to reject the load.

How to Report Forced Dispatch

Reporting forced dispatch can be done in your local Division Office or online via National Consumer Complaint Database.
Make sure to have your eLog attached and a valid reason for declining the load. If FMCSA finds that the company is at fault they will proceed with actions against the company.

Consequences of Forced Dispatch

Trucking companies can face serious consequences if found in violation. A fine of up to $16.000 for each incident and a possibility to lose the company’s operating authority. 

What is No Forced Dispatch

No forced dispatch means the company doesn’t force its drivers to accept loads they don’t prefer to take. It is often seen in trucking company job ads and is one of the common questions recruiters get from truck drivers. As forced dispatch is illegal, it is basically impossible for companies to say that they force dispatch drivers.

Learn about FMCSA here.

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