FMCSA Finalizes Rule to Shut Down Carriers based on Patterns of Safety Violations

This week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will publish a Patterns of Safety Violations Rule which implements the agency’s authority to shut down a bus or truck company if the company, or a company officer, has a history of purposely violating federal safety regulations. The rule is one of the new enforcement tools that the agency has developed in recent years to target high-risk carriers that endanger travelers by avoiding or covering up their negative history of safety compliance. FMCSA intends to apply the rule in egregious cases in which it finds that a motor carrier has committed a pattern of unsafe practices, even if that particular investigation alone does not result in a downgrade of the carrier’s safety fitness rating. The new rule complements a rule adopted by the agency in 2012 to apply out-of-service orders to reincarnated or chameleon carriers and to consolidate their enforcement histories. The rule goes one step further by authorizing a complete revocation of the motor carrier’s authority to operate. For a copy of the Federal Register announcement, see: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/rule-programs/rule_making_details.aspx?ruleid=470.

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