There’s no doubt that large semi-trucks present a major risk to motorists in smaller vehicles as both try to share roads and highways throughout the U.S. safely. While the majority of these trucks are operated by responsible companies and drivers, there are a sufficient number of violators to warrant a new proposed rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that would focus more attention on unsafe trucking companies.
Taking current laws to task
Many big-rig versus car accidents are typically serious enough to cause extensive damage to other vehicles, critical injuries, and even death. As a result, the FMCSA is taking current laws to task by adding the proposed new rule, which would essentially make it easier to remove unsafe trucks from the nation’s roads.
According to the FMCSA, this would enhance and simplify the agency’s ability to identify motor carriers who violate safety rules and prohibit them from continuing operations until they improve. Interestingly, the proposed rule comes following the earlier shutdown by the FMCSA of one of the largest trucking companies ever to be ordered out of service – Land Air Express of New England.
Violations of federal trucking regulations
The 10-day shutdown imposed by the agency stemmed from the discovery of several violations of federal trucking regulations, including:
- Falsified driver log books.
- Allowing an unqualified worker to drive.
- Failing to test drivers for drug and alcohol abuse at the required rate.
Investigations are time-consuming and can take several days. Consequently, the FMCSA has had a difficult time looking at anything other than a small percentage of carriers per year. For example, only 14,928 carriers out of 550,000 trucking companies in operation were investigated by state and federal officials in 2014.
Ability to assess 75,000 carriers per month
Under the new rule, the FMCSA could rate trucking companies based on safety violations alone, giving them the ability to assess as many as 75,000 carriers per month. From roadside inspection data, crash reports, and on-site carrier investigations carriers would be given a rating of “fit” or “unfit”. If a trucking company is found to break safety rules on a repeated basis, they will be labeled as unfit and ordered to shut down.
Because of the FMCSA’s contention that carriers identified through on-road safety data have crash rates almost four times the national average, the agency decided something had to be done.
Whether you have an accident with a big-rig or another car, you can expect your auto insurance rates to go up. But, you don’t have to settle for the increase, especially if it wasn’t your fault. After all, it’s easy to get car insurance quotes online.