In the United States, trucking operations are subject to regulations imposed by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As a watchdog agency, the FMCSA is responsible for developing procedures which will increase public safety and decrease the frequency of trucking accidents. The agency conducts annual inspections and audits of commercial vehicles, and is authorized to order unsafe vehicles off the roads until necessary repairs are completed. If widespread problems or egregious violations are identified, the agency is also authorized to revoke a motor carrier’s operating certificate.
The FMCSA recently announced that it done just that with regard to one North Carolina based trucking company, ordering the carrier out of service due to the agency having observed repeated safety violations. The FMCSA’s report of the decision cited that the company:
- Failed to properly maintain its vehicles
- Failed to ensure its drivers were fully qualified
- Violated federal rules governing screening drivers for alcohol and drugs
- Failed to enforce hours of service regulations which place limits on the number of hours drivers spend behind the wheel
With this most recent order, the FMCSA has now ordered 11 companies off the road since January of 2013. We applaud the efforts of the FMCSA to help keep the citizens of this country safe from irresponsible trucking companies.
As a trucking lawyer, I see a bigger issue from these data. There have been at least 11 companies who were willing to so flagrantly and repeatedly violate the federal safety regulations that they deserved to have their federal charters revoked! Despite tougher regulations, the frequency of accidents has been on the rise of late — a fact which strongly suggests that these 11 carriers are not an anomaly.
Sadly, our federal regulators are overworked and understaffed. As such, it is up to all of us to keep the roads safe. If you see a violation or an unsafe act by a trucker, report it. Also, if you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, take action. Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.