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Seven deadly sins for new motor carriers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined that a 99% pass rate in safety audits of new motor carrier entrants might be missing something, since new entrants were still involved in a higher percentage of trucking accidents.

The initial grant of authority to operate as an interstate motor carrier is provisional. For the first 18 months the new carrier is subject to stricter scrutiny than other carriers. Provisional authority to operate may be revoked immediately if any of the following “seven deadly sins” are found in a roadside inspection:

1. Using a driver who does not have a valid CDL (commercial drivers license). This includes drivers with falsified, revoked licenses, or one missing a required endorsement.
2. Operating a vehicle placed out of service for violations of safety regulations without taking necessary corrective action.
3. Involvement in a hazardous materials reportable incident involving radioactive material, certain explosives, and poison inhalation hazard materials.
4. Involvement in two or more hazardous materials reportable incidents.
5. Using a driver who tests positive for controlled substances or alcohol or who refuses to test for those substances.
6. Operating a commercial motor vehicle without the required levels of financial responsibility (insurance or approved self-insurance).
7. Having a driver or vehicle out of service rate of 50% or more based on at least three inspections within a 90 day period.

Any of these will trigger an immediate safety audit if there has not yet been an audit. If there has been an audit, there will be a notice requiring corrective action within 30 days. Failure to respond within 30 days will result in revocation of the new entrant’s registration.

I will post more later about safety audits and penalties for failing safety audits.

Ken Shigley is an interstate trucking trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia> who served as chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute, is on the National Advisory Board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs for the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. He has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale), and is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.