Compliance with Safety Regulations an Issue for Experienced Attorneys Handling North Carolina Trucking Accidents

Our Charlotte trucking accident lawyers wonder if the disclaimer change on Safety Measurement System data was heavily influenced by the trucking industry.

Recently a settlement agreement with three trucking associations was reached, thus ending litigation over information published on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) website.
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“CSA is a safety-critical program that helps to reduce commercial motor vehicle-related crashes and save lives,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Through this settlement agreement, we addressed the concerns raised by petitioners without compromising the CSA program and its safety benefits.”

The trucking associations that filed the suit were: Air & Expedited Motor Carriers Association (AEMCA), The National Association of Small Trucking Companies, Inc. (NASTC) and the Expedite Alliance of North America (TEANA). FMCSA agreed to change CSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) public website regarding how to display commercial motor carriers’ safety performance.

The FMCSA, by March 25, 2011, will make the following key changes to the SMS public website:

-ALERT symbols displayed in orange on the SMS website, will be replaced with a symbol that is a gold triangle with an exclamation mark inside.

-The disclaimer language on the SMS website will be revised to read:
“The data in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) is performance data used by the Agency and enforcement community. A (gold triangle with an exclamation mark inside) symbol, based on that data, indicates that FMCSA may prioritize a motor carrier for further monitoring. The (gold triangle with an exclamation mark inside) symbol is not intended to imply any federal safety rating of the carrier pursuant to 49 USC 31144. Readers should not draw conclusions about a carrier’s overall safety condition simply based on the data displayed in this system. Unless a motor carrier in the SMS has received an UNSATISFACTORY safety rating pursuant to 49 CFR Part 385, or has otherwise been ordered to discontinue operations by the FMCSA, it is authorized to operate on the nation’s roadways. Motor carrier safety ratings are available at http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov and motor carrier licensing and insurance status are available at http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov .”

The safety records of truckers and trucking companies is frequently an issue in the event of a serious or fatal accident. A company with a poor safety record — or a driver with numerous safety violations — should be made to answer questions in court. An experienced North Carolina tractor-trailer accident lawyer understands the many complex state and federal regulations under which truckers and trucking companies must operate. If companies and drivers put as much effort into ensuring the safety of the motoring public as they do into fighting government regulations, fewer people would surely die on the nation’s roads as a result of the 380,000 commercial trucking accidents that occur each year.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, contact our personal injury lawyers in Gastonia, Charlotte and Greensboro. Call Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

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