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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 45 days.

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.


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