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Agency increases fines, strengthens out-of-service order authority

| October 01, 2013

inspection sticker applicationThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration — in compliance with the MAP-21 highway funding law finalized last year — has increased fines for several violations of its regulations and widened its authority to issue out-of-service orders, per an entry in the Federal Register Oct. 1.

The new rules, made final Oct. 1, allows the agency to place an entire carrier out of service for operating vehicles “without or beyond the scope of registration,” according to the regulation, whereas previously only the unregistered vehicle itself could be placed out of service. 

The changes also include an amendment to a rule that shortens the time period in which new entrant carriers undergo a safety review from 18 months to 12 months. 

Related: FMCSA remains operational in light of government shutdown

Other amendments include increasing the minimum required for broker bonds to $75,000 and extending the requirement to freight forwarders and removing the “ability to pay” wording from the list of factors FMCSA takes into account when assessing civil penalties for violations relating to to commercial motor vehicle safety regulation and operators. 

Language has also changed regarding employer knowledge of an unlicensed driver and driver traffic violations from “the employer knew” to “the employer knows or should reasonably know.”

Here’s a summary of the fines that have increased under the rule changes: 

Violation of FMCSA’s reporting, recordkeeping and registration requirements: Now $1,000 (from $500) for violating reporting and recordkeeping requirements, $10,000 (also from $500) for non-passenger carrier registration violations. 

Transporting hazmat without appropriate registration: Now maximum $40,000 (from $20,000)

Failing to obey a subpoena or an order to appear or testify: Now $1,000 to $10,000 (from $100 to $5,000) 

Operating after being declared out-of-service: $25,000 maximum (each day treated as a separate offense)

Operating a vehicle hauling hazmat after being placed out-of-service: $75,000 maximum (each day treated as separate offense); if violation results in death, serious illness or severe injury of anyone or substantial destruction of property, maximum penalty moves to $175,000 

Evading regulations; Knowing and willful violations: Now $2,000-$5,000 for first time offense, $2,500-$7,000 for subsequent

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