The year 2000 marked the formation of
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
U.S. Department of Transportation. The administration
has indicated that a more stringent review of motor
carrier records will be the normal procedure. Increased
penalties and fines have been or will be implemented
in the near future.
Carriers who receive an "Unsatisfactory"
safety rating will be required to upgrade to "Satisfactory"
within 60 days or face the possibility of having to
suspend operations. In the case of passenger or hazardous
material carriers this time frame is compressed to
Carriers that demonstrate an ongoing
problem with any safety issue will be assessed fines
far in excess of what we have witnessed in the past.
If the problem continues, then suspension of activities
will be imminent.
Carriers that are delinquent in paying
assessed fines within 90 days will be considered to
be in non-compliance and will also face the prospect
of the closure of their operations. The Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration also has jurisdiction
over Intra-state compliance with controlled substance
and alcohol regulations and hazardous material operations.
While FMCSA is a definite factor in
a carrier's operating procedures, carriers would be
well advised to consider the possibility of litigation
and criminal penalties should they be found in non-compliance
with federal regulations following an accident.