FMCSA Strictly Evaluating Commercial Operators to Improve Safety

According to a new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) policy, certain commercial operators now face strict requirements when applying for or updating their operating authority registration. The FMCSA now reviews and evaluates the ability and willingness of motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders to follow applicable laws and regulations.

This policy impacts commercial trucking safety by making it difficult for operators failing to meet its new performance factors to gain or maintain their registration. Hopefully, this policy will make the roads safer for all motorists by getting potentially dangerous trucks off the road and reducing trucking accidents in Missouri.

Applicable Rules and Laws

It is within the FMCSA's authority as a federal agency to grant or revoke the operating registration of a motor carrier, broker or freight forwarder. According to a new FMCSA policy, commercial operators must demonstrate a willingness and ability to comply with any applicable laws or rules created or enforced by the FMCSA to gain or maintain registration. These include regulations relating to employer and employee duties, safety fitness rules, transportation accessibility requirements and certain minimum financial obligations.

To evaluate whether a commercial operator is willing and able to comply with applicable rules and laws, the FMCSA reviews six criteria. Past operator violations and their impact on operating safely are two important criteria. The FMCSA also looks for signs of willful breaches of its requirements and investigates any past or present enforcement actions. In addition, the FMCSA considers the existence of adequate safety measures to ensure compliance with rules and laws and examines past or present corrective actions against an operator.

If commercial operators fail to meet the FMCSA's six evaluation criteria, operators face amendment or revocation of their current operating authority registration or of any pending registration applications. If a motor carrier, broker or freight forwarder has an existing operating registration, it can be suspended if they show any inability or unwillingness to comply with FMCSA regulations. Applicants who intentionally provide misleading information or fail to disclose required information are showing an inability or unwillingness to comply.

Safety Impact

While at first glance the FMCSA's policy merely seems to be one way to enforce compliance with its regulations, it could have a much deeper impact on road safety. The FMCSA's evaluation criteria seeks to investigate and identify those motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders who willfully violate applicable rules and law, including safety requirements. This review can help to prevent the granting of operating authority registration to commercial trucking outfits whose truckers have injured or killed because of poor safety practices.

If you or your loved one was recently involved in a motor vehicle accident with a commercial truck, contact a local truck accident attorney for advice about how to proceed and for help investigating whether any federal trucking safety violations occurred. Truck crashes prove particularly injurious and deadly to victims, so seeking a personal injury lawyer with experience handling truck accidents can help you get the compensation you deserve to heal and move forward after such a devastating event.