Truck accidents frequently occur as a result of drivers who are too tired, who are impaired, or who break the rules of the road. Poorly maintained trucks can also be a leading cause of accidents. Truck drivers and motor carrier companies may be held responsible and an Atlanta truck accident lawyer at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can provide legal representation to victims of collisions who have sustained harm.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) knows the common causes of truck crashes and has passed myriad regulations designed to discourage dangerous behaviors and encourage best practices for safety. FMCSA rules, for example, require truckers to keep logs to ensure they do not drive for too long and require drivers to check vehicle parts and load balance before setting off on a trip.
When trucking companies or truck drivers violate FMCSA safety rules, accident risks significantly increase. To try to reduce the number of violations that occur, FMCSA has now made changes to the fines that will be imposed when truckers and trucking companies do not follow the rules.
FMCSA Changes Fines to Help Prevent Atlanta Truck Crashes
The FMCSA has made substantial changes to impose stricter penalties and fines. The new higher penalties went into effect on June 2 according to Trucking Info.
Changes affect penalties for record keeping violations; falsification of records; failure to record violations on the part of the motor carrier; and violating out-of-service orders. The fine for egregious hours-of-service violations also rose from a prior maximum of $11,000 to a new maximum fine of $16,000. Big increases also occurred in fines imposed for hazardous material violations. For example, violating federal rules while carrying HAZMAT materials used to carry a maximum fine of $50,000 and now carries a maximum fine of $75,000.
These and other fines and penalties are levied whenever violations are identified. This commonly occurs when high risk motor carries are audited through the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Enforcement Program. After the FMCSA conducts an audit, identifies violations, and issues fines, the agency’s actions become a matter of public record. This can have an adverse impact on the brand of the motor carrier and it can cause insurance rates to rise. Qualified commercial drivers may not want to work for a company with a poor safety culture, so the company may face difficulties attracting safe drivers in the future.
Data on FMCSA fines is also available when the trucking company is sued, which can make it more likely a motor carrier will become liable for losses.
Trucking companies need to be aware of added fines and penalties and the new FMCSA rules should encourage companies to make safety a priority. Hopefully, the higher fines will be good inventive to get trucking companies to do the right thing and protect the public.
The Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a negligent driver. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.