If you're not a truck driver, you may not be very familiar with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is part of the Department of Transportation and its primary responsibility is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. This department enforces safety regulations, targets high-risk carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers, improves safety systems and technologies, strengthens commercial motor vehicle equipment and operating standards, and increases safety awareness. Just recently, the FMCSA made a big move toward protecting the public from companies or drivers that show patterns of safety violations.
Rule on Patterns of Safety Violations
The finale rule on Patterns of Safety Violations was published on January 22, 2014, and will become effective on February 21, 2014. This rule implements the agency's authority to shut down a bus or truck company, or a company officer, that has a history of purposely violating federal safety regulations. According to the FMCSA, the rule is one of the new enforcement tools that the agency has developed in recent years to target high-risk carriers that endanger travelers by avoiding or covering up their negative history of safety compliance.
The plan is to apply the rule in "egregious cases" in which it is found that a motor carrier has committed a pattern of unsafe practices. Both the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) asked the FMCSA to clarify what they mean by "egregious" cases; the FMCSA did not believe it was necessary to define "egregious," saying that the word takes it's ordinary meaning of "extraordinarily bad." This means the acts of noncompliance by carriers needs to involve more than isolated incidents and should be shown to be repeated, willful and noncompliant.
It's very promising to see these actions being taken by the FMCSA and we hope this final rule will lead to fewer truck accidents in Houston and across the U.S. If you were injured in a Houston truck accident, contact Attorney Steve Lee for a free consultation at 800-232-3711.
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