FMCSA Announces Changes to Reporting of Adjudicated Citations
That’s extremely good news,
since violations can impact a carrier’s DOT scrutiny, insurance rates,
and its reputation, as well as a driver’s employability. That kind of operational impact certainly deserves due process.
The change was proposed by the FMCSA last December, and
after a period of comments and review, it went onto the books earlier in
the summer. The FMCSA anticipated it would take a reasonable time
before the system would be completely implemented and integrated.
Under this new FMSCA policy change, carriers and drivers
have a way to report adjudications that result in a lower violation.
According to an announcement from the FMCSA, the requests for review of a
violation adjudication must be made through the FMSCA’s DataQs system.
The MCMIS database has been altered to enable it to accept adjudication
rulings indicating that:
• the citation was dismissed;
• the driver and/or carrier were found not guilty;
• the citation resulted in a conviction of a lesser charge or a different charge;
• the citation was upheld.
Here’s why this change is critically important to both drivers and carriers:
Under the FMSCA regulations, states that want to receive
transportation grant monies under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance
Program (MCSAP) are required to report violations they discover during
roadside inspections in an effort to help ensure federal transportation
safety standards are being upheld.
States report the violations they find to the FMCSA, which
records them in their database, the Motor Carrier Management Information
System, or MCMIS, which contains violation data from drivers and
carriers nationwide. Once recorded, those violations can have a
significant impact on the safety scores for both carriers and drivers.
Benefits for carriers and drivers
The MCMIS database is far-reaching, affecting drivers’
pre-employment screening as well as a carrier’s BASIC scores in the CSA
Safety Measurement System (SMS). That means the data it contains can
have significant negative effects on drivers and motor carriers, from
denial of employment to loss of shipping contracts, likelihood of DOT
audit and intervention, likelihood of inspections, increased insurance
rates, and even costly fines. Under the new regulation, carriers and
drivers can avoid these potential consequences by initiating the review
process and, ideally, improving their record.
Of course, positive changes to the MCMIS database depend on
both drivers and carriers being more proactive in challenging
transportation violations as they occur. Many drivers and carriers avoid
pursuing violation citations, considering the process too costly, too
complicated or simply too time-consuming.
At Drivers Legal Plan, our national law firm challenges violations of every magnitude. Our
attorneys file DataQ challenges on behalf of drivers and their
companies, helping them gather evidence and testimony, and properly
document and present their case to the appeal entity. Remember, even
violations that may seem “small” or “hardly worth pursuing” can have a
cumulative damaging effect on super-sensitive insurance rates or
pre-employment qualification. By the time you decide to fight back, it
may well be too late to effectively contest them. That’s why it’s
imperative to fight each and every violation as it occurs to ensure the
best possible outcome.
Delays can be costly.
If you’ve had a violation, whether you’re a driver looking
to protect your CDL or a carrier seeking to protect your operational
viability, you need skilled legal representation as soon as possible.
Give Drivers Legal Plan a call today at 800-417-3552 to see how our
experienced national law firm might help you manage that all-important
CSA score, and in turn protect your job, DOT status, insurance rates,
and shipping contracts.
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