New Rule from the FMCSA Concerning Safety Violations
by Apex Capital | February 10, 2014
In late January, the FMCSA published a new rule “Patterns of Safety Violations by Motor Carrier Management” taking effect on February 21, 2014, which will give the FMCSA the ability to suspend or revoke operating authority of for-hire motor carriers who have:
- Shown egregious disregard for safety compliance;
- Permitted persons who have shown egregious disregard for safety compliance to exercise controlling influence over operations; or
- Operated multiple entities under common control to conceal noncompliance with safety regulations.
What does this mean for existing operating authorities? The FMCSA is looking for chameleon or reincarnated motor carriers. The Rule is meant to catch motor carriers who apply for new authority because their current authority has a poor safety record.
First, the FMCSA must determine that a motor carrier hasn’t complied with safety regulations or has tried to conceal noncompliance. Even a single act of concealment, such as applying for a new authority to hide an old authority, could trigger this determination.
Second, if the FMCSA determines that the carrier is using another entity under common control to avoid compliance or hide noncompliance, not only will the FMCSA deny that new application for authority, but it could suspend or revoke the motor carrier’s existing authority.
For what little comfort it’s worth, the Rule does require the FMCSA to provide notice of its intent to suspend or revoke authority and an opportunity for the motor carrier to respond. If you are concerned that this rule could affect you, you should contact a transportation law expert.