FMCSA Announces 17 Minor Rule Changes


By Matthew Wrobel, Foley Services

While the rest of the government was
shut down, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration quietly issued a large number of small rule changes to comply with this summer’s MAP-21 Transportation bill.
Below are the 17 rule changes FMCSA has made to follow the new charter.

1. Safety Fitness of New Operators
The New Entrant Safety Audit period has been shortened from 18 months to 12 months. For bus carriers, the New Entrant Safety Audit will occur within 120 days of registration.

2. Increased Penalties for Operating Without Registration
Penalties have been greatly increased. New penalties include $1,000 for record keeping violations and $10,000 for registration violations.

3. Revocation of Registration and Other Penalties for Failure to Respond to Subpoena
Carriers that ignore subpoenas or FMCSA agency orders to appear or testify now face fines of $1,000 to $10,000.

4. Fleetwide Out of Service Order for Operating Without Required Registration
Previously, if a carrier operated without authority or outside of the scope of its authority the individual vehicle used would be placed out-of-service. Now the entire fleet will be shut down.

5. State Reporting of Foreign Commercial Driver Convictions
The States are now required to report convictions of foreign drivers to FMCSA. They will also have to report unlicensed drivers operating CMVs and non-CMVs.

6. Authority to Disqualify Foreign Commercial Drivers
The criteria to disqualify foreign drivers are now the same as domestic drivers.

7. Revocation of Foreign Motor Carrier Operating Authority for Failure to Pay Civil Penalties
FMCSA can now revoke a foreign carrier’s authority for failing to pay civil penalties.

8. Employer Responsibilities
Employers are now responsible for drivers using a suspended, canceled or revoked CDL if they knew or should have reasonably known of the invalid license.

9. Inspection Demand and Display of Credentials
Employees of states that receive Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) can now inspect certain equipment and records.

10. Penalties for Violation of Operation Out of Service Orders
Violating an out of service order now carriers a $25,000 penalty.

11. Increased Penalties for Evasion of Regulations
“Willful” violations will now be fined at $2,000 to $5,000 for a first time offense and $2,500 to $7,000 for subsequent violations.

12. Violations Relating to CMV Safety Regulation and Operators
FMCSA can no longer consider ability to pay when assessing penalties against a carrier.

13. Emergency Disqualification for Imminent Hazard
The definition of “imminent hazard” now includes any vehicle, employee or CMV that increases the likelihood of serious injury or death if not discontinued immediately.

14. Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program
Municipal and local governments can now be members of MCSAP.

15. Waivers, Exemptions and Pilot Programs
The home state of a person granted an exemption must inform roadside enforcement of the exemption. Additionally, pilot programs will no longer be published in the Federal Register.

16. Financial Security of Brokers and Freight Forwarders
As previously reported, the final rule officially sets the minimum broker amount at $75,000.

17. Civil Penalties
Violations of the Hazmat rules deemed likely to cause “death, serious illness or severe injury” now carry a penalty of $175,000. Other hazmat violations now carry a maximum penalty of $75,000.

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