It's official: Starting Nov. 20, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will put truckers out of service if they don’t improve an unsatisfactory safety rating.
Under the "Unsat = Unfit" rule, as it is called, truckers will have 60 days to fix an unsatisfactory rating or be declared unfit and placed out of service. The rule also says that the federal government, the country's biggest shipper, may not use "unfit" truckers.
It is not a new rule to the industry. Tank truckers have been living with a stricter version for years – they have 45 days to fix an "unsatisfactory" rating or be hit with an out-of-service order.
But industry observers agree that the rule sends a message to other types of carriers. "It will put a lot of people on notice that they’ve got work to do," said John McQuaid, president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council, when the news first broke.
The safety agency said the rule will not be applied retroactively – it applies when a trucker is rated unsatisfactory on or after Nov. 20. A company will not be shut down if its has an unsatisfactory rating on Nov. 20, but the rule will apply if the trucker does not make improvements before the followup visit.
The safety agency predicts that under the rule, fewer than 100 truckers will be placed out-of-service each year.
Click here to read the final rule: http://mchs.fhwa.dot.gov.