Texas roadways are full of tractor trailers carrying goods from one end of the country to the other. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes that the 5 million commercial vehicle operators have considerable responsibilities that go beyond those of the 250 million motorists in passenger vehicles. That is why this government agency is committed to holding large truck operators accountable for safety issues and their correction.
The FMCSA has created the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program to identify trucking companies and drivers who have issues that could compromise safety. The information is provided by the companies, and through data gathered from crash reports, investigation results and roadside inspections. Behaviors are divided into categories and ranked so that those who present safety risks are flagged for intervention. Categories include the following:
- Hours-of-service and hazardous materials noncompliance
- Crash involvement
- Vehicle maintenance and failure to make repairs
- Use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances
- Driver fitness and medical conditions
- Unsafe driving such as speeding, distraction or reckless driving
When issues do arise, they are weighed against factors such as severity of infractions or noncompliance issues, the number of violations or failed inspections, and the number of miles traveled.
The FMCSA notes that interventions are divided into three categories. They include warning letters and inspections, onsite and offsite investigations, and steps to correct the safety problems. These may be voluntary, or they may be mandated through formal action of the FMCSA. Civil penalties or Operation Out of Service Orders may be issued for severe infractions.