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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Creates New Rules to Go After Non-compliant Trucking and Bus Companies

Most trucking and bus companies operate their business in a safe and professional manner. Despite this, every once in awhile the news reports on a tragic accident by a company that has flaunted safety laws.

When a motor carrier accident happens it involves several parties, and the state and federal laws that apply can be complicated. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor carrier accident, you are encouraged to contact an experienced Tennessee truck accident lawyer who knows how to get you the compensation you deserve.

On January 17th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) announced new rules giving them authority to shut down motor carriers that have shown an “egregious disregard” for federal safety regulations. The FMCSA regulates the trucking industry in the United States. The new rules were created after frustration with companies and executives using “reincarnated” or “chameleon carriers” to move their assets or to establish complicated organizational structures to evade FMCSA violations.

We are intent on shutting down bus and truck companies that willfully endanger the public. [The agency will use] the rule to take stronger action against businesses and individuals that have a history of disregarding basic safety standards.

— FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro

The new regulations were brought about after years of complaints from the U.S. Congress and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) when highly reported and extremely tragic accidents happened despite attempts by the FMCSA to remove carriers with severe safety violations from the road.

In 2011, a discount bus operator, Sky Express, crashed in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing four people and severely injuring several others. After an NTSB investigation, it was found that the carrier had received 204 violations from the FMCSA prior to the accident.

In February 2013, a bus crashed in San Bernardino County killing seven people and injuring a dozen others because it failed to slow down on a downhill grade. The FMCSA found every brake on the bus to be defective. The NTSB investigation found that the carrier company had failed several FMCSA investigations prior to the accident but alluded shut down.

In the summary to the new rules, the FMCSA cited a 2008 accident in Sherman, Texas that killed 17 people. The FMCSA had many safety violations by the carrier company and had revoked the registration of the company. After a thorough investigation, the FMCSA found the company had changed its sub companies and re-registered the vehicles to keep them on the road. The revoked companies and the company involved in the accident were under the control of the same person.

The new rules authorize the FMCSA to withhold, suspend, or revoke a carrier’s operating authority for failing to disclose common management or control by a person or entity that has failed to comply with FMCSA requirements. The regulations specifically target carriers that engage in wilful violations by forming new entities or affiliate relationships to conceal non-compliance.

The majority of motor carriers with trucks or buses on the road obey safety laws and have safe driving practices for their carriers and drivers. The new rules will make the road safe by taking dangerous carriers off the road. Unfortunately, there are trucking and bus companies that do not follow the rules or try to cloak their unsafe behaviour. If you have been injured in a motor carrier accident, it is important to consult with an attorney that understands the state and federal legislation and who is willing to take on these companies so that you can get the compensation you deserve.

If you have been involved in an truck accident, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. at (865) 524-5657.

Additional Resources:
Final Rule: Patterns of Safety Violations by Motor Carrier Management, Jan. 17, 2013, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Full Version: Patterns of Safety Violations by Motor Carrier Management, Jan. 17, 2013, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Jan. 17, 2013,

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Tennessee Tractor-Trailer Crashes & the Risk of Increasing Size and Weight Limits., Jul. 10, 2013, Knoxville Injury Lawyer Blog

Mills v. Fulmarque Illustrates Time Limitations in Knoxville Injury Claims, Mar. 28, 2012, Knoxville Injury Lawyer Blog

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