USDOT Sued For Failure to Enforce Federal Law and Prevent Highway Protests
Washington D.C. – The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) has filed a complaint in U.S. District Court alleging the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is not enforcing federal law.
Many truckers continue to fume about those who are staging protests along major U.S. roadways and why local, state and federal law enforcement officials aren’t doing more to prevent them.
The demonstrations have led to multiple deaths and injuries as well as extended delays for motorists and truckers along those routes.
A much discussed federal law known as the Hobbs Act makes it a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail to obstruct, delay or affect commerce by robbery or extortion or threaten physical violence to any person engaged in interstate commerce.
The SBTC is now suing the USDOT for not enforcing the Hobbs Act.
In an amended complaint filing to its lawsuit first filed in April of this year, the SBTC is accusing USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao of failing to “enforce the Hobbs Act to protect commercial motor vehicle drivers who were physically attacked, beaten and often killed by protestors around the country.”
“Plaintiff’s proposed amendment adds a count to the complaint relating to Defendants’ failure to follow Congressionally mandated regulations in response to the recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests around the country that are disrupting the flow of commercial motor vehicle traffic and in many cases causing the injury and death of truck drivers, including members of the SBTC,” the complaint reads.
Additionally, the SBTC is accusing USDOT leaders including Secretary Chao and Jim Mullen, Acting Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), of failing to adhere to another federal law as well.
The SBTC argues Sec. Chao is in violation of her duties under 49 U.S. Code § 31136(a)(2) and (4), which reads:
The Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety. The regulations shall prescribe minimum safety standards for commercial motor vehicles. At a minimum, the regulations shall ensure that—
(2) the responsibilities imposed on operators of commercial motor vehicles do not impair their ability to operate the vehicles safely;
(4) the operation of commercial motor vehicles does not have a deleterious effect on the physical condition of the operators.
Further, the SBTC argues the USDOT and FMCSA are also in violation of the statutes of 49 U.S. Code § 31136 for “failing to suspend or amend the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to account for the unforeseen disruptions to the flow of commercial motor vehicle traffic by protests currently taking place around the country.”
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) was the first to break the news late last month the FMCSA was considering a suspension of HOS for all truckers in response to the growing threats of violence and dangers presented by highway protests.
The Agency ultimately decided against it and issued guidance instead.
Click HERE to read what the FMCSA said.
The response from truckers was swift and overwhelming as many where outraged by the FMCSA’s position on the matter.
Click HERE to read what truckers had to say.
TNN also broke the news on Sunday that multiple social justice groups are calling for 25,000 protesters to shut down a major Chicago interstate on August 15.
Click HERE to read more about this planned protest.
The SBTC is asking the Court to compel the USDOT to act to thwart the protest.
The USDOT and FMCSA do not comment about ongoing litigation.
However, the Department has previously filed a motion to dismiss the SBTC’s legal action.
TransportationNation.com will continue to track it for you.