Most people in the United States are unaware of the process federal regulators use to determine whether or not a trucking company should be shutdown. For those of today’s readers who want to know, the current process flags trucking companies for an audit if one of their vehicles receives a highway violation during a truck-stop inspection. During an audit, which can take several days, auditors determine whether a trucking company should be considered unsafe or not and thus shutdown accordingly.
These rules could change soon, though, if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has its way. The federal safety administration recently proposed new rules that would give auditors the authority to skip the auditing step and shutdown trucking companies that have been declared unfit because of highway inspection results. The new rule would not only save the federal agency time, it would also help protect other drivers from collisions with potentially dangerous trucks.
Though many of our Maryland readers might welcome stricter safety regulations that help prevent crashes, it’s worth noting that the FMCSA is receiving pushback within the trucking industry for its proposed rule change. The American Trucking Associations, which is the largest group opposing the new rules, does not believe that an accurate risk assessment can be ascertained about a trucking company simply by looking at the violations recorded at truck stops.
Whether or not the pushback from the American Trucking Associations or other groups representing the trucking industry cause the new rules to fall short of inclusion in 2016 regulations remains to be seen. The hope, though, is always that safety will win out and that changes will be made to make U.S. roads safer in the near future.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Federal Regulators to Toughen Truck Safety Rules,” Loretta Chao, Jan. 15, 2016