FMCSA toughens new entry standards

WASHINGTON — A new rule to place stricter safety requirements on all newly registered trucking and bus companies has been introduce by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

This final rule raises the compliance standards for passing new entrant safety audits, while ensuring that safety deficiencies are corrected before a new motor carrier is granted permanent registration with the agency.

The agency is targeting new entrants because their safety records are significantly worse than those of experienced carriers. They are involved in more accidents and their drivers and vehicles are more often out of compliance, statistics show.

"Imposing these tougher standards will ensure that new entrants are fully aware and compliant with federal safety regulations aiding in the continued reduction of highway crashes and fatalities on our nation’s highways," said FMCSA Administrator John H. Hill.

Under the old entry rule, would-be truckers had to certify that they understood the safety rules and clear a safety audit before they could get permanent registration. That was too easy, the agency said.

Under the final rule, a newly registered trucking or bus company will automatically fail its safety audit if it violates any one of 16 essential federal regulations during the 18-month safety monitoring period (click here to read the entire rule and see the 16 provisions). These essential regulations cover controlled substances and alcohol testing, hours-of-service, driver qualifications, vehicle condition, and carrier financial responsibility.

If a company fails its new entrant safety audit, it may result in revocation of a carrier’s registration with the agency, unless the carrier takes necessary corrective action within a specified time period established by FMCSA.

The rule would also require that if during the 18-month safety monitoring period, certain violations are discovered during roadside inspections, the new entrant may be subjected to a new entrant expedited safety audit or in the case of serious safety violations, a more comprehensive compliance review, which can result in fines and penalties.

The carrier may also be required to submit a written corrective action plan explaining in detail how the carrier will achieve compliance with the safety rules and improve its safety performance.


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