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FMCSA Improves Motor Carrier Regulations Concerning Hazardous Materials

Enforcing motor carrier safety regulations decrease the risk of Missouri trucking accidents. When motor carriers such as trucking and passenger bus companies know that safety regulations will be enforced, they comply with safety regulations. Since safety regulations are designed to decrease the risk of a Missouri 18 wheeler accident, compliance strengthens highway safety.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – a federal agency that seeks to improve motor carrier safety on American roadways – announced recent changes to its Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program. The CSA program aims to improve motor carrier safety by monitoring the safety performance of motor carriers to enforce existing safety regulations.

The FMCSA analyses the safety performance of motor carriers by monitoring seven categories: unsafe driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness, controlled substances/alcohol, vehicle maintenance, cargo-related, and crash indicator. The FMCSA sets an acceptable threshold for each category. If a motor carrier’s safety performance negatively passes the threshold, the FMCSA launches an intervention. The FMCSA intervention threshold is a useful tool for preventing Missouri 18 wheeler accidents.

Motor carriers that transport hazardous materials are subject to a stricter FMCSA intervention threshold than motor carriers that do not transport hazardous materials. Traffic accidents that involve large volumes of hazardous materials (e.g. toxic gases, flammable liquids, etc.) have an increased risk of serious injury and death. A stricter threshold for motor carriers that transport hazardous materials is a sensible federal motor carrier regulation.

The strict hazardous material threshold originally only applied to motor carriers that transported hazardous materials when they registered. If the motor carrier indicated that it transported any amount hazardous materials in its registration information, the stricter intervention threshold applied. However, some motor carriers that indicated hazardous material transport in their registration information were not actually transporting hazardous materials. These motor carriers were subject to a stricter intervention threshold, though they should not have been. Other motor carriers were transporting hazardous materials, but were not when they registered. Under the old system, these motor carriers should have been subject to a stricter intervention threshold but were not.

The FMCSA improved its hazardous material intervention threshold by changing how the threshold is applied. Motor carriers may now become subject to the stricter intervention threshold if it meets one of three criteria. First, if an inspection that occurred in the previous 24 months shows that the motor carrier transported hazardous materials, the motor carrier becomes subject to the stricter threshold. Second, if a review or safety audit from the previous 24 months shows that the motor carrier transported hazardous materials, the motor carrier becomes subject to the stricter threshold. Third, if the motor carrier has or obtains a hazardous material permit, the motor carrier becomes subject to a stricter threshold. With these improvements, the FMCSA hopes to continue decreasing the serious injury and death that result from Missouri trucking accidents.