The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shut down an Indiana trucking company for multiple federal safety violations. The FMCSA’s decision to shut down ultimately prevents Missouri semi-truck car accidents, since the Midwestern truck company operated across state lines.
The FMCSA ordered Indiana company U & D Service to cease operations after an extensive safety review in which multiple violations were uncovered. The company had a continuous pattern of using unlicensed drivers, drivers without commercial driver’s licenses. The company also used drivers without the legally required level of proficiency in English.
Drivers must have a valid commercial driver’s license to legally operate large commercial motor vehicles, including tractor trailers, in interstate commerce. To safely drive a commercial motor vehicle, a commercial driver must have special skills and knowledge. Commercial driver’s licensing exams insure that only skilled drivers operate large vehicles on the nation’s public roadways.
National commercial driver’s licensing also prevents truck driver fraud concerning conviction rates. Before the national Commercial Driver’s License Program created by the FMCSA, the states licensed commercial drivers. This state-based system allowed truck drivers to obtain licenses from more than one state. When a negligent truck driver was convicted for a safety violation in one state, the truck driver could hide the conviction by using a license from another state. Negligent truck drivers could also spread violations across different state driving records so the extent of their negligence remains hidden from a central authority.
When the FMCSA discovers a trucking company’s continuous pattern of using unlicensed drivers, the FMCSA may declare that trucking company an “imminent hazard” to the public safety. The FMCSA has been authorized by Congress to shut down companies that are an imminent hazard to the public safety.
The FMCSA’s authority to monitor the safety of trucking companies in two ways. First, when the FMCSA shuts down unsafe trucking companies, it prevents those companies from causing fatal or injurious truck accidents. Second, when the FMCSA convicts operating trucking companies of safety violations, people who are ultimately injured by that company may be able to use the safety convictions against the company in court. Truck accident victims should contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer for more information about the role that safety violations can play in a personal injury lawsuit.