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FMCSA Changes Safety Program After Reaching Settlement Agreement With Trucking Associations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) changed how information will be published on the website of its safety accountability program for motor carriers. This change in Missouri motor carrier regulations is a part of a settlement ending recent litigation with trucking associations.

The Compliance Safety Accountability program (CSA) was an enforcement mechanism created by the FMCSA in 2010 in order to reduce the amount of Missouri truck accidents and save lives. The CSA analyzes safety-based violations from trucking inspections and Missouri truck accidents to measure the safety performance of motor carriers. The FMSCA maintains a website that gives the public access to information regarding the safety measurements of commercial motor carriers.

Three trucking associations sued the FMCSA in November 2010, challenging the CSA program. The trucking associations – the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, the Air & Expedite Motor Carriers Association, and the Expedite Alliance of North America – reportedly aimed to prevent the release of safety performance data analyzed by the CSA.

The parties reached a settlement agreement this month. The FMCSA agreed to modify its website by changing a symbol and adding a disclaimer. The former “ALERT” symbol, used to indicate scores above a particular threshold, will be replaced by an exclamation point in a yellow triangle. The FMCSA must also add the disclaimer that safety performance data on the website should not be the sole basis for drawing conclusions about the overall safety of a motor carrier. Whether these changes will affect future claims related to Missouri truck accidents is currently unknown.

Changes in Missouri trucking regulations come from multiple sources – legislation, administrative rulemaking in the executive branch from the federal government, or litigation and settlements (as in this case). Missouri motor carrier regulations determine the legal duties of a commercial truck driver and what constitutes a breach of those duties. These determinations may be essential to negligence cases in which an accident victim sues for compensation after a Missouri truck accident. Monitoring the changes in trucking law and applying them to your case is a complex task that is best handled by a professional.