2013 US Trucking News – FMCSA Curbs 52 Passenger Carriers
According to a press release coming from the Federal Motors Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), its Quick Team placed 52 passengers, as well as passenger carriers, and 340 vehicles out of service in 2013. This intensified effort was a part of the FMCSA’s Operation Quick Strike program. This program is a 3-phase passenger carrier safety campaign that raises the bar for safety in the motor coach industry, and to strengthen the agency’s oversight methods.
The FMCSA was established with the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier’s Safety Improvement Act of 1999. The FMCSA was formerly a part of the Federal Highway Administration. Its primary mission was to prevent commercial motor vehicle related fatalities and injuries. Activities of the administration always contribute to the ensuring safety in motor carrier operations through strong enforcement of safety regulations. This included targeting high-risk carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers, improving safety information systems and commercial motor vehicle technologies. It also included strengthening commercial motor vehicle equipment and its operating standards, and increasing safety awareness.
In order to accomplish these activities, the Administration works with the Federal State, as well as the local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, labor safety interest groups, and others.
The Department of Transportation’s rule, 49 CFR Part 40, describes required procedures for conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing for the federally regulated transport industry.
Every motor carrier, including its officers, drivers, agents, employees and representatives directly concerned with the inspection or maintenance of commercial motor vehicles must be knowledgeable of and comply with the rules of this part. Every intermodal equipment provider that is directly concerned with the inspection must be knowledgeable and comply with the rules. Also, maintenance of intermodal equipment should be interchanged or offered for interchange to motor carriers.
This Quick Strike team is composed of 50 specially trained FMCSA investigators. This special team of investigators went out in full force from April through November, to conduct in-depth reviews into the patterns and practices of the 250 most at-risk motor coach companies.
The FMCSA has also mentioned that:
214 top to bottom compliance investigators were completed
20 motor coach companies were immediately closed down due to violations as well as posing an imminent hazard to the public
32 companies were issued with ‘unsatisfactory’ safety ratings and were shut down after failing to remedy critical and acute violations
28 companies took corrective action in order to fix the safety violations that investigators have uncovered to avoid being shut down
340 vehicles, of the more than 1,300 vehicles that were inspected during the investigations, were eventually put out of service for safety and maintenance violations.
The FMCSA has stated that company-wide failures that adequately maintain their buses, inadequate drug and alcohol driver testing programs and widespread hours of service violations were just some of the reasons why these companies were closed down.
Additionally, these Quick Strike investigators evaluated around 1,300 carriers that had minimal inspection history, or data with the agency. As a result of these investigations, around 240 carriers were targeted for more in-depth investigations.