If you or a member of your fleet goes awry of federal regulations, you can plan on paying higher penalties. This change was recently announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and is part of a larger federal scheme designed to get every last penny from fines. This change is happening whether truckers and trucking companies want it to.
The changes are not drastic this time. The rise is supposed to track with the rate of inflation as recorded by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The old fines will be increased by about 0.16%, so it should not break the bank of anyone who would be getting a fine anyways, but it is part of a larger discussion about the regulation of the trucking industry in general.
Trucking Industry Regulations
It is hard to think of another national industry that is regulated more than the trucking industry. Not only do current and past regulations place a heavy burden on the industry, but as we recently observed, there are new regulations being added all the time. This happened when a recent law created new oversight of the industry by the Food and Drug Administration via the Food Safety Modernization Act.
This and other examples show why compliance with federal regulation is of utmost importance for trucking companies. For example, if a driver is placed out of service by the FMCSA, and is caught driving anyways, the fine used to be $17,816, but with the new increase it will be $18,107. Numbers like that quickly add up, and they can easily crush a company.
Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act
The authority to adjust the penalty and fine schedule of the FMCSA comes from the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. This law was passed in 2015, and it was designed to ensure that penalties and fines administered by federal agencies keep up with inflation as recorded by the federal government. The idea was that the government would not lose out on any actual value received for fines given, and that companies would not get off easily.
The problem with this idea and design is that while the general rate of inflation does affect the value of money used to pay fines, not all companies keep up with inflation. Many companies do not see their bank accounts getting bigger and bigger with the loss of value of money. Indeed, the opposite is true more often than not because of the competitive nature of the business.
Understanding and Complying With Regulations
There will always be more and more regulations published and implemented against the trucking industry. The key for any trucking business will be to stay on top of those regulations, and complying with them as they come about. This task is made imminently easier when you have the right legal counsel on your side. And if you fail to comply, the same counsel is even more needed.
At Anderson and Yamada, we have decades of experience helping and guiding companies in the transportation industry, and we want to help your company succeed too. Contact us today and we can help you understand what we offer.