FAST Act Of 2015 Prevents The Public From Obtaining Florida Trucking Safety & Accident Information

Approximately five years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched a trucking safety initiative called the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.  The program included a Safety Measurement System (SMS) designed to analyze violations from inspections and accident data in order to identify carriers with a pattern of unsafe practices and to intervene to correct safety violations before they resulted in catastrophic injuries or deaths.  The safety assessment included several categories:

  • Unsafe driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Driver fitness
  • Substance/alcohol abuse
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Cargo and crash indicators

By examining this data category-by-category, the Administration was able to shed light on repeat patterns of unsafe trucking practices and to provide that information to the public via their FMCSA website.

On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act,”[1] the first law enacted in over ten years that provides long-term funding certainty for surface transportation.  Based upon the enactment of the law, both states and local governments can move forward with critical transportation projects such as new highways and transit lines, with the confidence that they will have a federal partner over the long term.  One problem with the FAST Act of 2015, however, is that much of the information previously available on the FMCSA website relating to trucking safety[2] performance is no longer displayed publicly because a provision of the FAST highway legislation required that the agency review the CSA program and, during that review period, remove scores from public [3] view.

While the agency is not prohibited from displaying all of the data, no information will be available regarding property carriers while appropriate changes are made.  This will prevent easy access to the public and to others who want to know about a company’s safety rating.   With the enactment of this rule, instead of looking for what used to be free, public safety information, an individual will have to pay for the records to find out how safe a trucking company is and wade through complicated regulations to make a formal request for information from the government.  The CSA data that was available on the FMCSA website will remain inaccessible by the general public [4] until the FMCSA completes further studies, reports, and modifications to the satisfaction of Congress.

Trucking Companies Lobbied to Remove Safety Data

DC Velocity, a magazine brand serving the informational needs of logistics and supply chain managers and executives, reported in August of 2014, that a coalition of motor carrier trade groups had asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) to remove carrier scores [5] produced CSA from public view.  The 10-member group, consisting of motor property carriers and household goods movers, lobbied DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx to pull down the scores from the website of the FMCSA.  CSA’s critics, notably the American Trucking Associations, have long argued that FMCSA should keep safety scores from public view.

Prior to December 2015, the published safety information demonstrated the importance of commercial trucking safety thereby holding motor carriers accountable for unsafe practices.  Rather than devote more time and financial resources to safety initiatives, the 10-member group lobbied for the removal of those safety scores from the FMCSA website.  Now, in order to obtain the same information, it will be necessary to submit a Freedom and Information Act request to FMCSA.  This additional step will lengthen the time needed to obtain important safety information in order to evaluate a trucking accident case and makes it even more important to speak to a Florida Truck Accident Attorney who acts as your advocate during this difficult and complicated process.

Call a Florida Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident with a large truck, you likely sustained many serious injuries and maybe even life changing disabilities.  At the Dolman Law Group in Florida, our team of experienced truck accident lawyers have successfully helped many truck accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries and related losses. To make sure that you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled, it is important to have an experienced truck accident attorney handling your case. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756