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Federal Agency Raises Safety Bar for Commercial Truck and Bus Carriers

Commercial vehicle accidents can be some of the most deadly of all accidents. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. When a rig of that size crashes into another vehicle, those involved in the truck accident are lucky if they escape with their lives.

Frequency of Commercial Vehicle Accidents in Missouri and Nationally

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2009 there were over 3,000 fatal accidents involving large trucks and buses. Additionally, there were about 60,000 accidents causing injury.

Over 100 people in Missouri were killed in commercial vehicle accidents in 2010, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. That same year, more than 4,000 people were injured in commercial vehicle accidents on Missouri roads. This translates to one person in Missouri being killed or injured in a commercial vehicle crash every 2.1 hours.

FMCSA Seeks to Improve Safety of Commercial Carriers

In an effort to improve the safety of commercial trucks and buses on the road, the FMCSA began a new campaign in August 2012 titled “Fit, Willing and Able.” The agency seeks to raise the safety bar for commercial carriers by using new, specific criteria when it decides whether or not to grant a company operating authority.

The agency will look at factors that include past violations, the impact of those violations on the safety of the carrier’s operations, the willfulness of a carrier’s failure to comply with requirements, and any corrective action being taken. The FMCSA also said it will particularly scrutinize those carriers that have had their operating authority revoked or suspended during the previous six years.

Additionally, the FMCSA will not grant operating authority to companies that create new identities in an effort to avoid a past history of safety violations. These so-called “reincarnated carriers” have been a particular problem in the commercial bus industry. Companies shut down for safety violations have simply reopened under a new name in an attempt to evade regulatory enforcement. The agency emphasized that those engaging in this behavior will have their applications rejected.

If You Have Been Injured in a Bus or Truck Accident

The new campaign by the FMCSA is a step in the right direction to decrease commercial vehicle accidents. Much more, however, remains to be done to reduce the dangers of large trucks on the road.

An experienced lawyer can assist in investigating your claim if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bus or truck accident.