Careless truck drivers are responsible for many catastrophic accidents. Their negligence behind the wheel is often apparent and can result in the death of innocent victims.
Not so apparent – but often just as serious – is the irresponsible behavior of trucking companies. That’s why the federal government is proposing a new system for identifying dangerous motor carriers and big rig fleet owners.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration currently classifies the safety of federally regulated U.S. trucking companies three ways: Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. Under the agency’s proposed new tougher standards, there would only be one safety category: Unfit. Trucking companies declared “Unfit” could be taken off the road until they rectify their serious safety violations.
Trucking Companies Responsible for Unfit Drivers
The new rule allows FMCSA to shut down unsafe carriers on the basis of roadside inspections of their tractor trailers. This would include a minimum of 11 failed inspections over a 24-month period. A failed inspection would be one that uncovers violations in any of five safety categories:
· Driver Fitness – having truck drivers who are inexperienced, not well trained or medically unfit
· Hours of Service Compliance – truckers who drive too many hours per week
· Vehicle Maintenance -failure to keep trucks properly maintained and loaded
· Hazardous Materials – improperly handling and transporting of dangerous cargo
· Unsafe Driving – ignoring when its drivers speed or other dangerous actions behind the wheel
75,000 Trucking Companies Per Month Could be Investigated
These changes could prevent many fatal trucking accidents each year. The FMCSA reports that with the new guidelines, it could investigate as many as 75,000 questionable trucking companies a month.
The agency also said that motor carriers identified previously as unsafe based on the above safety violations have crash rates that are four times higher than the average trucking company rate.
A trucking company’s negligent attitude toward safety can put inattentive truck drivers or unsafe rigs on the road. That’s why attorneys who conduct truck accident investigations regularly pursue truckers and their employers when representing the legal rights of those who lost a family member or who themselves were severely injured in a truck crash.
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