Trucking Companies Continue to Operate Despite Orders to Shutdown due to Safety Violations
Jason R. Schultz
A study conducted by the Government Accountability Office has revealed that hundreds of trucking companies continue to operate, even after they were ordered to shut down because of federal safety violations that included suspended licenses and impaired driving. According to the report, many of these companies continue to operate under different names.
It's a scary fact, and has prompted a response from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency has responded to the GAO report by saying that it has introduced a computerized screening process under which new applicants must be compared to any previous companies with poor safety records. They noted that new companies are also now required to go through a safety audit within the first 18 months.
However, it's proving to be hard to enforce those measures as strongly as they should be. The FMCSA does not have the kind of computer capabilities needed to identify companies that have used similar names and addresses, but don't match each other exactly. There is also ambiguity about whether the federal agency or the state has the power to enforce these rules. Therefore, the GAO report only considers those companies that exactly match each other. The number of such companies is likely to be higher because the report doesn't take into consideration names and addresses that may be similar to each other. There is also ambiguity about whether the federal agency or the state has the power to enforce these rules.
The GAO is warning that the reincarnation of these companies continues to place motorists at risk for serious tractor trailer accidents. There are federal rules that mandate safety standards for brakes, wheels, tires and several other components of a tractor trailer. A reincarnated company will resume operations of its vehicles without bothering to take the kind of corrective action that was ordered. That means there are several tractor trailers with possibly defective or malfunctioning components, driven by unlicensed or inexperienced drivers or even drivers with a history of drug and alcohol use. That's dangerous news for innocent motorists on the road, and deeply concerns me as a husband, father of three and a Georgia truck accident lawyer.
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