The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been in the news recently, and news from the agency could affect truck safety and the risk of Fort Lauderdale truck accidents. For instance, a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee is holding a hearing about issues related to truck safety. Most recently, truck carriers and their representatives have indicated to the committee that the safety-rating system designed by the U.S. Transportation Department and used by the FMCSA has flaws that punish good bus and truck companies for collisions that are not the company’s fault. According to some groups, the FMCSA should use a different system to target unsafe and unreliable truck carriers, not merely those with minor compliance issues. The Compliance, Safety and Accountability system has been used and in development since 2004, but this is the system that carriers want to change.
Adding fuel to the fire is a study conducted by Wells Fargo Securities LLC. That study found that there was no link between the number of crashes a truck carrier had and the scores the carrier got from the FMCSA. In other words, a carrier with bad scores might still have no Fort Lauderdale traffic accidents. According to Wells Fargo, the FMCSA was vulnerable to lawsuits, since the scores hurt a carrier’s business and insurance rates but were not reliable. However, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that the FMCSA scores were reliable and validates the ratings systems the agency uses. According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, carriers with the lowest scores have accident rates twice as high as the average carrier.
According to the chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, John Duncan, the Transportation Department must create a system for carriers to question data that might be unreliable. The FMCSA has created its own task force to consider the proposals and possible changes to its ratings system.
The FMCSA has also launched a new initiative as of August 2012 to keep trucks from only reliable carriers on the roads. The “Fit, Willing and Able” initiative will use specific and newly-developed qualifying criteria when determining which carriers should be given operating authority. The FMCSA will consider a number of factors when determining whether to grant operating authority. The agency, for example, will consider how willing a carrier is to comply with requirements and whether any corrective action has been taken for willfulness. The agency will also consider past violations and whether those violations affected operational safety.
Carriers who have had their operating authority suspended or revoked in the past six years will face increased inquiry. Those companies who create new identities to distance themselves from past suspensions of operating authority or past violations will not be granted operating authority. This addresses a common problem in the truck and bus industry, where some companies try to distance themselves from past Fort Lauderdale bus accidents or truck accidents and regulatory violations by simply shutting down and opening with a new name and logo.
If you have been injured in a Fort Lauderdale truck accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney. Your case may be worth more than your think and discussing your case with the Flaxman Law Group costs nothing and comes with no obligation.