When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declares a motor carrier an imminent hazard, the carrier must cease all commercial motor vehicle operations, including interstate and intrastate transportation, from all dispatching locations or terminals. FMCSA also revokes the motor carrier’s federal operating authority and suspends its USDOT number.
This month we are introducing a brand new feature to Simply Acuity, the “Ask the Trucking Specialist” column. This column provides you, the trucker, an opportunity to ask questions that pertain to the trucking industry. These can be questions about insurance, safety, the industry, or anything that is on your mind. I will choose one of your questions every month to answer. To ask me a question, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cliff, what does it mean for a motor carrier to be declared an “imminent hazard to public safety”?
When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declares a motor carrier an imminent hazard, the carrier must cease all commercial motor vehicle operations, including interstate and intrastate transportation, from all dispatching locations or terminals. FMCSA also revokes the motor carrier’s federal operating authority and suspends its USDOT number. Operating without authority can result in severe civil and criminal penalties.
Carriers are often declared imminent hazards for safety issues such as failing to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain their commercial vehicles, not having annual inspection records, or not requiring drivers to conduct pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections. Carriers have been cited as imminent hazards for transporting oversized loads, having expired drivers’ licenses, or not carrying insurance on their vehicles.
Motor carriers can also get into trouble for failing to comply with FMCSA Regulations, 49 CFR parts 300– 399, which can be found at the FMCSA website. For example, motor carriers that fail to ensure their drivers comply with hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigue, use drivers who have not been tested for drug or alcohol use, or fail to implement a drug and alcohol testing program can all be shut down by the FMCSA.
The good news is that FMCSA provides help with compliance. For basic information, a great place to start is with “A Motor Carrier’s Guide to Improving Highway Safety,” found at the FMCSA website. Using electronic on-board recording devices also dramatically improves compliance with hours-of-service regulations. Additionally, Acuity offers many tools and resources to help motor carriers with safety and compliance.
This article is provided for informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as technical, legal, or other professional advice. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The information presented in this article is based on the most current information available at the time of publication.