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12/16/2008
SPECIAL REPORT: FMCSA names 16 deadly sins for new entrants

Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008 – New motor carriers face losing their authority if they commit any one of the newly identified 16 deadly sins that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outlines in a new final rule.

The final rule was published in the Federal Register Tuesday, Dec. 16. The regulation goes into effect Feb. 17, 2009, with a compliance deadline of Dec. 16, 2009.

Once the reg is in effect, truckers and trucking companies will have their authority yanked if they are found to have violated one of 16 different safety regulations during the new entrant safety audit. If one of the violations is found during a roadside inspection, that can trigger an “expedited action,” which is a safety audit or compliance review.

The key safety regulations, quickly dubbed the “16 deadly sins” by industry insiders, are:

  • Failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substances testing program.
  • Using a driver known to have an alcohol content of 0.04 or greater to perform a safety-sensitive function.
  • Using a driver who has refused to submit to an alcohol or controlled substances test required under part 382.
  • Using a driver known to have tested positive for a controlled substance.
  • Failing to implement a random controlled substances and/or alcohol testing program.
  • Knowingly using a driver who does not possess a valid CDL.
  • Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting, or authorizing an employee with a commercial driver’s license which is suspended, revoked, or canceled by a state or who is disqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting, or authorizing a driver to drive who is disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Operating a motor vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility coverage.
  • Operating a passenger carrying vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility.
  • Knowingly using a disqualified driver.
  • Knowingly using a physically unqualified driver.
  • Failing to require a driver to make a record of duty status.
  • Requiring or permitting the operation of a commercial motor vehicle declared ‘‘out-of-service’’ before repairs are made.
  • Failing to correct out-of-service defects listed by driver in a driver vehicle inspection report before the vehicle is operated again.
  • Using a commercial motor vehicle not periodically inspected.

Most of the violations are a “one strike and you’re out” scenario. However, two of the regs – failing to require a driver to make a record of duty status and using a commercial motor vehicle not periodically inspected – require a violation detected 51 percent of the time in trips reviewed.

Any motor carrier found to fail the new entrant safety audit must be notified within 45 days of the review. Once notified that they failed the audit, the motor carrier has 60 days to correct the problems or lose their operating authority.

Two groups – passenger-carrying operations and hazmat haulers – are being given only 45 days to correct any violations in their safety audits.

Any motor carrier that doesn’t prove the violations were corrected will lose its operating authority after the 60 or 45 days, depending on the type of operation. Once the FMCSA revokes the authority and issues an out-of-service order, the new entrant will have to wait 30 days before applying for authority again and starting the process all over.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor
jami_jones@landlinemag.com

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