New policy will force trucking companies to comply with revised safety regulations or face shutdown.

New policy will force trucking companies to comply with revised safety regulations or face shutdown.

Truckers and commercial carriers have a new federally mandated Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) measure to meet in order to stay on the road.

On Jan. 15th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a new rule that independent truckers and commercial carriers must meet in order stay in business. Although some say the new safety requirement approach goes too far, others have suggested that it doesn’t go far enough, based an alleged absence of sufficient strict indicators.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Federal Methodology for Meeting Safety Determination

The old federal methodology for determining the safety of commercial carries in the U.S. basically rated carriers on the following three levels:

  • Satisfactory
  • Conditional
  • Unsatisfactory

The new SFD methodology simplifies this to a single determination – the carrier is either compliant or unfit; if unfit, the carrier would be shut down if it does not take the proper steps to get into safety compliance.

The new system will reportedly allow the FMCSA to monitor upwards of 75,000 carriers per month, whereas the old system only allowed regulators to monitor around 15,000 carriers on a monthly basis.

Trashing Complexity in Favor of BASICS

The two data sources that underpin the methodology that the FMCSA plans to use include: investigative results and roadside inspection/violation data. The FMCSA will reportedly use the following Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to evaluate carriers’ compliance versus unfitness:

  • Hours of on-road service compliance
  • Driver fitness
  • Records associated with unsafe driving
  • Vehicle maintenance and hazardous materials

Evaluation categories excluded from the new methodology included controlled substance/alcohol use and crash indicators.

Pushing back against this new FMCSA regulation, independent truckers have explained to Congress that the new safety determination methodology is too narrowly focused on meeting all compliance criteria, while ignoring matters like “at-fault crashes.” Other concerns truckers have expressed in regards to the new FMCSA methodology include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • The requirement that truckers and carriers meet all stringent safety  provisions
  • Increased levels of financial responsibility for truckers and carriers, especially carriers operating with few (or less) vehicles.

Contact a Boulder Truck Accident Lawyer at Cederberg Law

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident – or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal traffic accident, contact a Boulder truck accident lawyer at Cederberg Law to find out more about your best options for financial recovery.

Call us at 303-499-0449 or email us via the contact to meet with us at no cost or obligation to you. In addition to offering free initial consults and contingency fee options, our lawyers make hospital visits to ensure that you have access to the legal support you need – whenever you need it.