Agency proposes targeting chronic offenders

By Jill Dunn on

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposal would allow suspension or revocation of carriers’ authority that demonstrate “egregious disregard” for safety compliance.

The agency will accept comment through Jan. 14 on Patterns of Safety Violations by Motor Carrier Management. The Nov. 13 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking acknowledges loss of operating authority registration represents a significant penalty, but is necessary to discipline carriers with the worst noncompliance records.

Companies placed out of service sometimes attempt to avoid compliance or conceal noncompliance, FMCSA wrote. These carriers submit new applications for registration, often under a different name, or create or use an affiliated company under common operational control. They shift customers, vehicles, drivers and other operations activities to affiliated companies after the FMCSA places one of the other commonly controlled carriers OOS.

The proposal includes targeting carriers permitting someone demonstrating flagrant disregard for safety while exercising “controlling influence over their operations or operate multiple entities under common control to conceal noncompliance with safety regulations.”

Additionally, company officials would not necessarily avoid liability by asserting they did not know someone had practiced deceptive behavior on behalf of another carrier. Carriers are “responsible for evaluating the qualifications of people who act on their behalf or plan to engage to act on their behalf,” the notice stated.

The 2005 and 2012 omnibus transportation funding bill provided the FMCSA the authority to suspend or revoke authority in these instances.  

Those interested in commenting must include the docket number FMCSA-2011-032. The agency asks commentators use only of the following methods to avoid duplication:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov
  • Fax 202-493-2251
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C, 20590-0001.

The NPRM is available here. 

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