The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed new legislation that will change the way it analyzes and reviews carrier safety performance.
The FMCSA will replace an aging system that has been in place since 1982. Under the previous rules, commercial motor carriers were reviewed annually and assigned a rating within a three-tiered rating system: Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. Motor carriers with a Conditional safety rating were allowed to continue operating as long as certain changes were made to their maintenance and operational processes within the year.
Under the new regulations, data will be gathered from each inspection of every vehicle, as well as from the full investigative reports on any accident. These reviews will be taken in on a monthly, rather than annual, basis. Within the previous system, the FMCSA was able to review about 15,000 carriers a year, while the new provisions will give them the ability to review upwards of 75,000 carriers annually.
With stricter safety requirements, measured by the newly created Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories, or BASIC, motor carriers will be required to have a much more systemic approach to ensuring the safe functionality of their vehicles and drivers.
While the BASIC requirements are much stricter, a motor carrier would have to hold at least 11 violations of the BASIC protocol to be deemed unfit for service. It is expected that 300 carriers a year will be listed as unfit and have their federal motor carrier number revoked until the issues are rectified and they are able to reapply for licensing.
Currently, while a carrier with a Conditional safety rating could continue to operate indefinitely, under the new guidelines, the issues that result in a Conditional rating would likely disqualify them from commercial services until they are dealt with and verified by the FMCSA as fit for operation.
What does this mean for your safety on the road? It means that every questionable inspection, every driver violation and every at-fault incident investigation report could potentially take a carrier off the road.
If you’ve had an incident with a commercial motor carrier, speak with a knowledgeable Fort Worth, TX truck accident attorney who can help you understand your options for seeking compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Anderson Cummings are experienced in cases of this nature and can advise you on how to proceed with a claim.
For a free case evaluation, call (817) 920-9000.