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Federal Government Cracks Down on Unsafe Trucking Companies

According to the United States Department of Transportation, the Obama Administration has dramatically increased orders to shut down unsafe trucking companies. These federal orders are a part of a larger effort to decrease Missouri trucking accidents and the injuries that result from them.

The Administration has the authority to issue imminent hazard orders through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Imminent hazard orders place unsafe trucking companies out of service. Unsafe trucking companies are more likely to cause Missouri tractor trailer accidents. This Administration is ramping up the enforcement of safety trucking regulations. Trucking companies are subject to surprise safety inspections, full reviews of compliance, and increased enforcement actions like imminent hazard orders. If a trucking company is sued for injuries sustained in a Missouri trucking accident, a company history of federal safety violations may help the accident victim prove negligence.

In the past two years, the Administration has issued more imminent hazard orders than in the previous decade combine. Between 2000 and 2009, the federal government issued only 14 imminent hazard orders that took unsafe motor carriers out of service. In the past two years, the FMCSA issued 14 imminent hazard orders – equal to the amount from the previous decade.

The imminent hazard orders are not exclusively for trucking companies. Other carriers may be placed out of service because of risky activities. For example, one company was found transporting people in baggage compartments in violation of safety regulations.

The increase in imminent hazard orders is the direct result of an increased interest in highway safety. United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “ I have pledged to put public safety above all else…We have seen the tragic consequences of unsafe practices – whether it’s ignoring fatigue regulations, providing inadequate driver training, or failing to conduct the proper maintenance…We [will] continue using all of the tools at our disposal to get unsafe carriers off the road.”

The FMCSA has submitted a new safety proposal for Congress’s approval. The FMCSA wants to establish a federal standard to stop “reincarnated” carriers. “Reincarnated” carriers are merely a new version of an unsafe carrier that was previously issued an imminent hazard order. The FMCSA additionally requests greater authority to inspect commercial passenger buses. The FMCSA aims to decrease Missouri trucking accidents with Congress’s authorization.