Federal Authority Can Declare a Truck Company or Truck Driver an Imminent Hazard to Public Safety
There is a hodgepodge of federal agencies that regulate the trucking industry and truck drivers themselves. The primary agency is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA),1 which is a part of the Federal Department of Transportation. With the power to regulate and license drivers comes the right and even responsibility to take that license away from drivers who pose a health and safety risk to other drivers.
A quick perusal of the FMCSA newsroom website2 shows that it does investigate and issue federal orders to stop operating a commercial motor vehicle to drivers and companies for safety risks. When the FMCSA issues such an order, the driver or company must cease all commercial driving activity immediately. Driving while under such order will result in severe penalties. Not only will a carrier be cited and potentially found to be a safety hazard for failure to inspect or repair a truck or insufficient record keeping, a driver can also be found to be a hazard for having certain medical conditions or for dangerous driving behaviors.
Trucking Companies and Truck Drivers Can Disregard Rules and Regulations
Unfortunately, many times the FMCSA issues an order after it is too late. Just recently, an accident between two commercial vehicles in Wakulla County,3 one a tractor trailer and the other a bus transporting migrant farm workers, resulted in an order that the company operating the bus was an imminent hazard to public safety. The bus caught on fire and four people, including the driver of the tractor trailer, died as a result of such flagrant flouting of safety rules. While most of the passengers escaped death that day, 24 others were injured.
Other times, the drivers are the ones who ignore regulations and are barred from operating a commercial vehicle. One driver from California4 was medically disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle due to failed drug tests in June 2015, but was involved in an accident while driving a commercial vehicle just six months later. It was only then that the FMCSA issued its order that the driver was an imminent hazard to public safety.
There are many other examples like this found on the FMCSA website. Some of the things that a carrier can be found to be an imminent hazard to public safety for are:
- Hiring unqualified drivers, such as when the driver failed to take a required DOT physical and/or they failed to obtain the proper CDL license and/or endorsements;
- Failure to monitor drivers by not monitoring the driver’s logs and allowing them to drive fatigued and/or allowing the driver to drive over the federally mandated hours of service rules;
- Improper vehicle maintenance, which includes insufficient documentation for inspection (even if it passed inspection), routine maintenance and repair.
Contact Our Florida Truck Accident Lawyers Today
The attorneys of the Dolman Law Group in Florida are committed to the victims of truck accidents and their loved ones. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a tractor trailer, you need a law firm with the resources to document all safety hazards that the driver and the company have. Dolman Law Group does that and more for the many truck accident victims that our firm has represented through the years.
Contact us today at (727) 451-6900 for your free initial consultation. We are here to help you and your loved ones get through this difficult time.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765