Federal Truck Safety Ratings May Be Ineffective

Trucking regulations are designed to protect motorists and passengers by preventing commercial truck accidents. For instance, last year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted new regulations designed to reduce truck driver fatigue. The regulations – which were first announced in December 2011 and took full effect on July 1, 2013 – limit the average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours to ensure that all truck drivers have adequate rest to operate their vehicles safely, and recent data suggests that the new hours-of-service regulations are accomplishing their goals by more effectively combating fatigue than the previous regulations.

Unfortunately, not all FMSCA regulations and safety programs achieve their desired effect. For instance, a new audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability program conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests that the agency should consider revising its safety ratings program.

The FMCSA Compliance, Safety, Accountability program collects data from roadside inspections and crash investigations in order to compare the safety performance of truck and bus carriers of similar sizes and other demographics so that it can more carefully analyze the carriers that have the most safety violations.

In its audit, the GAO found various flaws in the process and suggested that the program be revised. Specifically, the GAO found that the FMCSA method of assigning scores to carriers without adequate safety data prevents the agency from making fair comparisons among carriers.

Based on its audit results, the GAO recommended that the FMCSA be “more selective in which carriers it assigns scores based on which carriers have the most relevant safety records that are strongly associated with crash risk.” According to GAO, by being more selective about the carriers to which the FMSCA assigns safety scores, fewer carriers will have safety ratings, thereby making the scores more reliable and allowing FMCSA to better allocate its resources.

The Chicago trucking accident lawyers at Cogan & Power, P.C. are committed to protecting motorists and passengers from trucking accidents and bus accidents, and we will continue to monitor this FMSCA safety rating program for any developments or revisions to the program.

If you have been injured in a trucking accident or bus accident, you should consult with a skilled trucking accident like those at Cogan & Power. Our trucking accident lawyers have considerable experience representing the victims of commercial trucking accidents and their families. As such, we have extensive knowledge of FMSCA safety regulations and safety programs, and understand the importance of comprehensive factual inquiry in connection with a trucking accident lawsuit.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident involving FMCSR violations, contact the skilled Chicago trucking accident attorneys at Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights following a commercial trucking accident. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.