Friday, November 15, 2019

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On July 31, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) increased the civil penalty amounts that drivers and carriers can be fined for violating federal trucking regulations. The FMCSA, along with other Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies, is required to adjust its civil penalty amounts each year according to inflation.

The fine increases were published in the Federal Register on July 31 and went into effect immediately. There was no prior notice or comment period. “The Department emphasizes that this rule adjusts penalties prospectively, and therefore the penalty adjustments made by this rule will apply only to violations that take place after this rule becomes effective,” the DOT wrote in the supplementary information for its final rule. “This rule also does not change previously assessed or enforced penalties that DOT is actively collecting or has collected.”

The FMCSA fine increases of potential relevance to heating fuel dealers are listed below, with hazardous materials penalties in red for convenient reference. The complete list of DOT civil penalties and related fines is available here. Note: some of these penalties apply specifically to carriers engaged in interstate transportation while others fall under general and intermodal programs. Carriers are encouraged to consult legal counsel on all matters related to federal trucking regulations and violations.

Violation Prior Fine New Fine
Disobeying subpoena – minimum $1,066 $1,093
Disobeying subpoena – maximum $10,663 $10,932
Out-of-service order (operation of CMV by driver) $1,848 $10,932
Out-of-service order (requiring or permitting operation of CMV by driver) $18,477 $18,943
Out-of-service order (operation by driver of CMV or intermodal equipment that was placed out of service) $1,848 $1,895
Out-of-service order (requiring or permitting operation of CMV or intermodal equipment that was placed out of service) $18,477 $18,943
Out-of-service order (failure to return written certification of correction) $924 $947
Out-of-service order (failure to cease operations as ordered) $26,659 $27,331
Out-of-service order (operating in violation of order) $23,426 $24,017
Out-of-service order (conducting operations during suspension or revocation for failure to pay penalties) $15,040 $15,419
Out-of-service-order (conducting operations during suspension or revocation) $23,426 $24,017
Recordkeeping – maximum penalty per day $1,239 $1,270
Recordkeeping – maximum total penalty $12,383 $12,695
Knowing falsification of records $12,383 $12,695
Non-recordkeeping violations $15,040 $15,419
Blood alcohol concentration level (first conviction) $3,096 $3,174
Blood alcohol concentration level (second or subsequent conviction) $6,192 $6,348
CDL violations $5,591 $5,732
Special penalties pertaining to violation of out-of-service orders (first conviction) $3,096 $3,174
Special penalties pertaining to violation of out-of-service orders (second or subsequent conviction) $6,192 $6,348
Employer violations pertaining to knowingly allowing, authorizing employee violations of out-of-service order (minimum penalty) $5,591 $5,732
Employer violations pertaining to knowingly allowing, authorizing employee violations of out-of-service order (maximum penalty) $30,956 $31,737
Special penalties pertaining to railroad-highway grade crossing violations $16,048 $16,453
Financial responsibility violations $16,499 $16,915
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations and Safety Permitting Regulations (transportation or shipment of hazardous materials $79,976 $81,993
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations and Safety Permitting Regulations (training) – minimum $481 $493
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations and Safety Permitting Regulations (training) – maximum $79,976 $81,993
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations and Safety Permitting Regulations (packaging or container) $79,976 $81,993
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations and Safety Permitting Regulations (compliance with FMCSRs) $79,976 $81,993
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations and Safety Permitting Regulations (death, serious illness, severe injury to persons; destruction of property) $186,610 $191,316
Operating after being declared unfit by assignment of a final “unsatisfactory” safety rating (generally) $26,659 $27,331
Operating after being declared unfit by assignment of a final “unsatisfactory” safety rating (hazardous materials) – maximum $79,976 $81,993
Operating after being declared unfit by assignment of a final “unsatisfactory” safety rating (hazardous materials) – maximum penalty if death, serious illness, severe injury to persons; destruction of property $186,610 $191,316
Violations of the commercial regulations (property carriers) $10,663 $10,932
Violations of the CRs (brokers) $10,663 $10,932
Violations of the CRs (motor carrier or broker for transportation of hazardous wastes) – minimum penalty $21,327 $21,865
Violations of the CRs (motor carrier or broker for transportation of hazardous wastes) – maximum penalty $42,654 $43,730
Violations related to loading and unloading motor vehicles $16,048 $16,453
Reporting and record keeping – minimum $1,066 $1,093
Reporting and record keeping – maximum $8,025 $8,227
Unauthorized disclosure of information $3,210 $3,291
Violation of condition or registration $803 $823
Copying of records and access to equipment, lands, and buildings – maximum penalty per day $1,239 $1,270
Copying of records and access to equipment, lands, and buildings – maximum total penalty $12,383 $12,695
Evasion of regulations – minimum penalty for first violation $2,133 $2,187
Evasion of regulations – maximum penalty for first violation $5,332 $5,466
Evasion of regulations – minimum penalty for subsequent violation(s) $2,665 $2,732
Evasion of regulations – maximum penalty for subsequent violation(s) $7,997 $8,199

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