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Worried About Losing Your Operating Authority? FMCSA Spells It Out
3 mins read

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has drawn a regulatory line in the sand and spelled out, in detail, its policy on suspending, revoking and issuing Operating Authorities. This must-read notice, published in the Federal Register, is, essentially, a blueprint for how to keep your operating authority (or how to lose it.)

Like it or not, if you violate the Federal regulations, FMCSA has the power to take away your right to be in business. That power, however, can be difficult to define; sometimes a carrier will have a major violation and be allowed to stay on the road and sometimes a carrier with a number of small violations ends up with a revoked authority. One of the goals of the statement is to clarify how FMCSA exercises its authority to revoke, amend or suspend operating authorities.

“Once granted, FMCSA exercises its authority to revoke, amend or suspend operating authority registration in cases where a motor carrier, broker or freight forwarder engaged in conduct demonstrating willful disregard for applicable requirements. Inadvertent, isolated, or sporadic violations of applicable requirements generally will not result in revocation, suspension or amendment.”

You can read the full document here.

The statement details FMCSA’s newly aggressive policy against so called ‘reincarnated’ carriers — those who attempt to rebuild under a new Operating Authority after they have been shut down and covers how it investigates carriers and any mitigating circumstances that might explain away violations.

Most interesting, they lay out the factors they consider for each authority they review:

  1. The nature and extent of existing or past violations;
  2. The degree to which existing or past violations will affect, or have affected, the safety of operations, taking into account any crashes, deaths, or injuries associated with the violations;
  3. Whether existing or past regulatory or statutory violations are the result a willful failure to comply with applicable requirements;
  4. The existence and nature of pending and closed enforcement actions;
  5. Whether adequate safety management controls exist to ensure acceptable compliance with applicable requirements; and
  6. The existence of corrective action, if any.
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