Fuel Smarts

Overdue Fines Could Cost Operating Authority

September 19, 2000

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed new rules that would suspend motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders that don’t pay civil penalties assessed by the agency.

Under the proposed change, which was authorized by the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, a carrier that fails to pay a penalty within 90 days of the due date will be prohibited from operating in interstate commerce. The prohibition would be effective on the 91st day after the missed due date and would continue until FMCSA has received payment in full. Carriers that continued to operate after the suspension would be subject to additional penalties, including revocation of their operating authority.
If a carrier has arranged to pay penalties in installments, the prohibition would start on the 91st day after the due date of the missed payment. Failure to make a scheduled payment would also void the payment plan, making the entire debt due immediately.
In all cases, FMCSA will send a notification that payment wasn't received within 45 days of the missed due date. The notices, including a suspension warning, would be sent by certified mail or commercial express service to the carrier's main place of business.
The prohibition would not apply to companies or individuals who can't pay a penalty because they are a debtor in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
Comments to the proposal are due October 19, 2000. The full proposal can be found in the Sept. 19, 2000 Federal Register accessible on the Internet at www.nara.gov/fedreg. Comments can be accessed on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov under docket number FMCSA-00-7332.

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