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.

 

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