The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration appears to be getting serious about putting chronically noncompliant motor carriers out of business and closing the door on chameleon carriers upon first perusal of a new policy set to publish in the Federal Register on Aug. 2.
The policy outlines six areas FMCSA will review when considering whether to withhold, suspend, amend or revoke operating authority.
- The nature and extent of existing or past violations;
- The degree to which existing or past violations will affect, or have affected, the safety of operations, taking into account any crashes, deaths, or injuries associated with the violations;
- Whether existing or past regulatory or statutory violations are the result of a willful failure to comply with applicable requirements;
- The existence and nature of pending and closed enforcement actions;
- Whether adequate safety management controls exist to ensure acceptable compliance with applicable requirements; and
- The existence of corrective action, if any.
The review will encompass six years of records on the motor carrier, the same time span the agency uses when considering civil penalties for a “history of prior offenses” or a “pattern of violations.”
In essence, the agency’s pledge is to be much more diligent in terms of enforcing regulations that have been on the books for years. The policy, due out Thursday, goes on to say that through the course of that review, if a motor carrier had a period of noncompliance but takes corrective measures, the agency will also consider that.
Included in the corrective action list are the installations of collision avoidance, automatic on-board recorders, speed limiters, stability control or other “supposed” safety systems, according to Spencer.
The agency also will consider documentation of repairs, changed policies, and corrective action plans.
The FMCSA has been slow in punishing the carriers who have ignored the FMCSA’s mandated CSA rules. They have also been very selective. The government agency was very excited to promote all the carriers who participated in the CSA pre-launch two years before CSA began. Those carriers were rewarded with requests by the FMCSA to purchase better equipment. The FMCSA also persuaded some, and ordered other carriers, to purchase EOBR’s. DOT inspections were frequent and complicated, costing millions in lost man-hours by carriers.
Carriers expected, in return, a head start on a CSA Program that they knew was going to be tough. What Ray LaHood gave carriers, however, was the shaft. LaHood did nothing more than use and abuse these carriers who had made major financial sacrifices for showing good faith in him and the FMCSA. The FMCSA came empty handed and left with all the information they needed to raid carriers and destroy drivers.
During the CSA two year trial period when only 9 states were under CSA rule the FMCSA learned that when carriers were diligent in keeping up equipment DOT Officers would not be able to write many tickets. So the best way around that issue was to not have a training program for the drivers and to downplay training drivers to carriers. So what did Ray LaHood do? He made sure the drivers would not be warned or educated about CSA. Ray LaHood and his planners left drivers ignorant of CSA so that all the carriers in America would operate at a greater risk.
President Obama requested two months before CSA was to be launched that all government department heads not begin any new programs that could hurt America’s recovery from the Great Recession. Did Ray LaHood listen to any of that? No! Ray LaHood in the first 18 months of CSA put more than 600,000 drivers on the unemployment rolls and caused more than 10,000 carriers to shut down for good.
Now, almost two years after CSA has begun, Ray LaHood has finally decided to start holding all the bad carriers accountable (that he and his staff handpicked not to pay attention to in the beginning). These carriers will finally have to answer to the same laws that all the honest carriers in America and Canada have to answer to. That decision only took a lawsuit against the FMCSA!
Do you think that maybe Ray LaHood picked the end of 2012 to leave the FMCSA because he knew at some point his crap would finally hit the fan?