U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 22, 2000
Contact: Dave Longo
Tel: (202) 366-0456
U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces Aggressive Fines for Repeat Violators of Safety Regs; Proposes to Shut
Down Motor Carriers Who Don't Pay
U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater
today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration will assess aggressive fines against motor
carriers who repeatedly violate important highway safety regulations, and he
proposed to shut down interstate motor carriers who do not pay their fines.
Both of these actions arise from provisions in
the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.
"We cannot and will not tolerate those who
repeatedly violate highway safety regulations, consistently put the public at
risk, and refuse to be held accountable," Secretary Slater said.
"These actions are additional tools to help reduce the number of truck- and
bus-related fatalities and improve safety, which is President Clinton and Vice
President Gore's highest transportation priority."
Effective immediately, the U.S. Department of
Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will assess
the maximum fine allowed by law when the "same or related" violations
are committed by a motor carrier that has been fined twice for the those
violations within the previous six years. These fines can run as high as $10,000
Previously, maximum penalties were assessed only
when all the statutory criteria met the highest level of severity, or when the
violation caused or contributed to an accident.
Also, a proposed rule, published in the Sept. 19
Federal Register, would prohibit motor carriers who do not pay fines assessed by
the FMCSA, or who do not honor payment agreements, from operating in interstate
commerce. Also under this proposal, the registration of brokers, freight
forwarders, or for-hire motor carriers who fail to pay a civil penalty would be
suspended, preventing them from operating in interstate commerce.
The proposal includes the following key features:
* The prohibition would begin on the 91st day
after the payment date specified in the final agency order or on the 91st day
after the due date of a missed payment arranged in a payment plan.
* Parties who continue to operate would be
subject to additional penalties, including revocation of their registration in
* Motor carriers or other parties who currently
are delinquent in the payment of their penalties would not be affected, unless
the FMCSA were to issue a final order on or after the rule's effective date.
* The prohibition would not apply to anyone who
is unable to pay a civil penalty because the person is a debtor in a case under
chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.
Written comments on this proposal should be sent
by Oct. 19, 2000 to the USDOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. FMCSA-00-7332,
Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590-0001. The NPRM is
posted on the Internet and can be viewed after searching at http://dms.dot.gov/.
Comments also may be submitted electronically at this site.
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