Safety & Compliance

Higher Fines Are Among FMCSA Rule Changes

October 01, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is implementing a number of rule changes required by last year’s highway law, including higher fines for various violations.

In a Federal Register notice, the agency spells out 17 changes that do not require a formal rulemaking process.

Here are the major items:

  • The fine for violating reporting and record-keeping requirements has been bumped from $500 to $1,000.
  • The fine for violating registration requirements has been bumped from $500 to $10,000.
  • The fine for transporting hazmats has gone from a maximum of $20,000 to a minimum of $20,000 and a maximum of $40,000.
  • The maximum fine for failing to obey a subpoena or an agency order to testify has gone from $5,000 to $10,000.
  • The penalty for violating an out-of-service order following a finding of being unfit or an imminent hazard is $25,000.
  • Willful violation of the rules can cost up to $5,000 for the first instance and $7,000 for the second.
  • The fine for hazmat violations that lead to death or severe injury has jumped significantly, from a maximum of $100,000 to $175,000.
  • Brokers and freight forwarders must maintain a bond of at least $75,000.
  • New entrants to the business now must undergo a safety review within a year of beginning operations, rather than the 18 months that was formerly required.
  • Formerly, the agency could put a truck out of service for operating without registration or outside the scope of its registration. Now it can put the entire company out of service.
  • Formerly, an employer was forbidden from letting a driver drive when he knew that the person had lost his license. Now the standard is, knows or should reasonably know.
  • The agency used to consider a carrier’s ability to pay, among other factors, when assessing a fine. Now it will not.



  1. 1. Brian Loysen [ October 02, 2013 @ 05:14AM ]

    What a surprise...the interstate money grab is working so well why not get more money.
    Passenger car crashes at fault :$100-150.00 fine.
    ABS malfunctions AT time of inspection, noted by inspector on report. Fine in Michigan :$390.00. We argued that over $1000.00 had been spent trying to fix the problem leading up to the inspection. Reduced to $260.00
    At what point does this industry say enough is enough and attack this transparent Safety Focus on what it has become..a state by state easy source of revenue.

  2. 2. Jay [ October 02, 2013 @ 08:42AM ]

    They are really trying to shut down trucking and put thousands truck drivers without job...nice,I hope that one day all truck is gonna set their brakes for couple days then we will have some respect for them,they should help us to stay in this business not to shut as down. .

  3. 3. Tele [ October 02, 2013 @ 12:03PM ]

    When will small trick owners wake up, why can they stop being stupid and realize there is no other way out but to come under one union to represent all owner operators around the country. Paying a monthly fee for protection from the goverment money grag and get better pay is a Small sacrifise for a Hugh benifit. Under one body they can shut the country down any time they want and bring the goverment to its knees. Stop being a pushover and hurry start organizing for your own good and survival.

  4. 4. Cecil [ October 02, 2013 @ 12:44PM ]

    I been trucking for 40 years and I have come to the conclusion aint nobody gonna do shit but run their mouth about what we should do.

  5. 5. Gary [ October 02, 2013 @ 04:34PM ]

    You are right Cecil, I have been trucking for 45 years and you are 100% right on!

  6. 6. Ray [ October 05, 2013 @ 07:47AM ]

    The only reason the fines are increasing are simple, they are trying to weed out the undesirables. The repeat offenders that give a bad name to all, hopefully it works. Become educated, get up to date, or get out of the business.

  7. 7. Michael [ October 05, 2013 @ 11:45AM ]

    Atta boy Cecil....It's people like you who are an embarressmet to our industry. You are the "getter done" boys. Drive till your exhasted,don't maintain your vehicle and ride down the road screaming "breaker good buddy"

  8. 8. Bobby [ October 05, 2013 @ 11:52AM ]

    yes the oil feilds are looking better by the minute.

  9. 9. jeffrey [ June 09, 2014 @ 01:54PM ]

    Thanks, great, factual post!!

    That $175,000 fine is pretty steep

  10. 10. Eric [ August 19, 2014 @ 03:01PM ]

    "Ray = Become educated, get up to date or get out of the business."
    Easier said than done. Educated about what? Remember, it only takes a 8th grade education to drive a truck, so there's some "professionalism" for ya. "get up to date", on what specifically? "up to date" on equipment?
    "up to date" with, say, e-logs?
    There are so many Independent Operators that CANNOT AFFORD to "update" equipment, much less "update" to, say, e-logs.
    - - - -
    Michael = you're a idiot and the sad but true representation of the current new breed trucker. Thanks for sharing.
    - - - -
    Bobby, If you believe oil field work is so marvelous, go find out, but first WATCH at least a dozen VIDEOS at YouTube about how wonderful such work truly excites the masses. Good LUCK.
    - - - -
    SAFETY, like BEAUTY, is in the eye of the beholder and fines will be set accordingly.


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