FMCSA gobbledegook recognized for, well, gobbledegook

By Land Line staff | 4/23/2014

Anyone who has ever read a legal document or even hospital discharge paperwork and scratched their head in confusion will appreciate this one.

At the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday a group called The Center for Plain Language gave its award for the most incomprehensible use of the English language to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

WonderMarks “Awards,” presented by The Center for Plain Language, draw attention to particularly complex, confusing or just plain bad writing and the companies that produce them. They are selected from among the communications that consumers submit of bad writing.

The FMCSA received the “award” – or rather dubious distinction – for its consent decree that companies must sign who have a conditional or unsatisfactory safety rating and who are seeking a conditional upgrade their rating.

Of the four WonderMarks “Awards” presented, the FMCSA consent decree drew some of the more entertaining comments from the judges. (On a side note, a 47-word road sign won one of the other WonderMarks “Awards.”)

“Of the lawyers, by the lawyers, and for the lawyers. I defy anyone, to actually read every word of this without wanting to throttle the author or have a stiff drink. This bit of regulation gets a perfect 100 – 100 percent of people required to complete it complained about it,” the judges’ comment states.

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