Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers: New Rule Targets Unsafe Trucking Companies

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing to add a new rule that would make it easier to take unsafe trucks off the road. The rule is designed to enhance and simplify the agency’s ability to identify motor carriers who violate safety rules and prohibit them from continuing operations until they improve. The announcement comes on the heels of a recent shutdown of Land Air Express of New England, one of the largest trucking companies ever to be ordered out of service by the FMCSA. The agency ordered the 10-day shutdown after it discovered several violations of federal trucking regulations, including falsified driver log books, allowing an unqualified worker to drive and failing to test drivers for drug and alcohol abuse at the required rate.

The newly proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule would replace the longer and more complicated three-tier rating system that labels carriers as satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory. These ratings are based in large part on records kept at a motor carrier’s place of business, not actual safety performance. Furthermore, ratings are only applied after comprehensive compliance audits by teams of investigators. Because these investigations can take several days, the FMCSA has only been able to investigate a small number of carriers per year. In 2014, state and federal officials investigated just 14,928 carriers out of 550,000 trucking companies in operation. Of those, the agency found almost one serious violation and 5.8 non-serious per investigation.

The new approach would allow the FMCSA to rate trucking companies based on safety violations alone, thereby enabling the agency to assess 75,000 carriers per month. Carriers would be labeled “fit” or “unfit” based on roadside inspection data, crash reports, carrier investigations or a combination of all three. Trucking companies that consistently break safety rules will be labeled unfit and ordered out of service. The FMCSA contends that carriers indentified through this on-road safety data have crash rates almost four times the national average.

Maryland Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Understand How Trucking Regulations Affect Crash Investigations

Truck accident claims are much more complex than typical auto accident cases. A successful outcome depends on having a truck accident lawyer who understands the industry and has the resources to obtain the necessary evidence. At LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, our Baltimore trucking accident lawyers have extensive experience bringing negligent trucking companies to justice. We fight for maximum compensation for our clients. If you have been injured in a wreck that involved a large commercial vehicle, call 800-547-4LAW (4529) today to discuss your case for free with one of our seasoned truck accident lawyers. A qualified member of our legal team is available to take your call 24 hours a day or you can contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.