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Regulators seek tighter controls over problem trucking companies

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hopes to seriously penalize truck and bus companies that display consistent avoidance of safety rules.

The proposed penalty would cripple some carriers. The regulators want repeat violators to lose their registrations. Hopefully, the number of truck accidents on Ohio highways and around the United States would be reduced as a result.

The FMCSA contends that each year a number of carriers -- fortunately, a small number -- take actions to avoid safety compliance or hide their non-compliance. For example, some carriers that have already been taken out of service for violations file new applications under different names to disguise their identity. This blatant disregard of safety rules generates more bus and truck crashes.

With expanded powers granted by a new highway law, the FMCSA has the authority to suspend and/or revoke carrier operating permission, if the organizations show consistent disregard of safety rules. The proposed new regulation also focuses on employers that directly, or permit others to, cast aside safety measures.

The agency proposal targets carriers that fail to comply with existing safety rules, along with those carriers that go a step further to conceal their compliance failures. This group also includes carriers that do not adhere to orders to fix safety issues, refuse to pay safety violation fines or, in some cases, even fail to respond to pending enforcement procedures.

The FMCSA would not penalize on "inadvertent or sporadic violations," but would target repeat offenders and the officials who manage these carriers. The proposed rule requires carriers to respond to suspension notices within 30 days of the notice. Should carriers not respond, they would lose their registration on the 35th day after suspension notification.

Source: Truckinginfo, "FMCSA proposes tough sanctions for carriers that repeatedly disregard safety rules," Oliver B. Patton, Nov. 15, 2012

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