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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces Aggressive Fines for Repeat Violators of Safety Regs; Proposes to Shut Down Motor Carriers Who Don’t Pay

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces Aggressive Fines for Repeat Violators of Safety Regs; Proposes to Shut Down Motor Carriers Who Don’t Pay

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
September 22, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 22, 2000
Contact: Dave Longo
Tel: (202) 366-0456
FMCSA 17-00

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will assess aggressive fines against motor carriers who repeatedly violate important highway safety regulations, and he proposed to shut down interstate motor carriers who do not pay their fines.

Both of these actions arise from provisions in the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

"We cannot and will not tolerate those who repeatedly violate highway safety regulations, consistently put the public at risk, and refuse to be held accountable," Secretary Slater said. "These actions are additional tools to help reduce the number of truck- and bus-related fatalities and improve safety, which is President Clinton and Vice President Gore’s highest transportation priority."

Effective immediately, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will assess the maximum fine allowed by law when the "same or related" violations are committed by a motor carrier that has been fined twice for the those violations within the previous six years. These fines can run as high as $10,000 per violation.

Previously, maximum penalties were assessed only when all the statutory criteria met the highest level of severity, or when the violation caused or contributed to an accident.

Also, a proposed rule, published in the Sept. 19 Federal Register, would prohibit motor carriers who do not pay fines assessed by the FMCSA, or who do not honor payment agreements, from operating in interstate commerce. Also under this proposal, the registration of brokers, freight forwarders, or for-hire motor carriers who fail to pay a civil penalty would be suspended, preventing them from operating in interstate commerce.

The proposal includes the following key features:

  • The prohibition would begin on the 91st day after the payment date specified in the final agency order or on the 91st day after the due date of a missed payment arranged in a payment plan.
  • Parties who continue to operate would be subject to additional penalties, including revocation of their registration in some cases.
  • Motor carriers or other parties who currently are delinquent in the payment of their penalties would not be affected, unless the FMCSA were to issue a final order on or after the rule’s effective date.
  • The prohibition would not apply to anyone who is unable to pay a civil penalty because the person is a debtor in a case under chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

    Written comments on this proposal should be sent by Oct. 19, 2000 to the USDOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. FMCSA-00-7332, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590-0001. The NPRM is posted on the Internet and can be viewed after searching at Comments also may be submitted electronically at this site.

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