It has been a busy week or so for the industry from a regulatory standpoint and we address two key developments. On November 30, 2015, the FMCSA adopted a new regulation that prohibits motor carriers, shippers, receivers, or transportation intermediaries from coercing drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles in violation of certain provisions of the FMCSRs. The areas of prohibition include hours of service, CDL regulations, drug and alcohol testing and hazardous materials regulations. Penalties can reach $16,000.00 per violation.
The rule is effective on January 29, 2016. The Petition for Reconsideration period ends December 30, 2015. The rule can be found here. The Federal Register discussion can be found here.
Apart from the new regulatory scheme, we suspect given the tone of the industry commentary that this rule will turn into another area that the plaintiff’s bar will rely upon to argue that shippers, receivers and transportation intermediaries are accountable for the actions of drivers. From a practical standpoint, we predict the thoughtful plaintiff’s bar will use this rule as a basis for liability in every broker, shipper, and logistics provider liability case.
On December 4, 2015, the FMCSA announced that “pursuant to the FAST Act of 2015, much of the information previously available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website related to property carrier’s compliance and safety performance will no longer be displayed publicly.” Until changes are made information about property carriers will be taken down until “appropriate changes are made.” Information on passenger carriers remains available. Enforcement entities and motor carriers can view safety data by using their login information.
CSA Scores and ratings have been the subject of debate since they were rolled out. The public availability of what many viewed to be flawed information has been the subject of debate. In reality those outside of the motor carrier industry and regulatory and law enforcement will still be able to gain access to the data, just not as easily.