As a Missouri semi truck crash attorney, I’ve written here in the past about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s attempts to tighten safety rules on the trucking industry. The centerpiece of recent attempts is CSA (Comprehensive Safety Analysis) 2010, an initiative by the FMCSA to update and improve its safety ratings for commercial trucking companies and their drivers. CSA 2010 evaluates companies and truckers using more specific measurements than before, makes that information available to the public and uses it to correct problems or take unsafe people and companies off the road. The program has the support of the American Trucking Associations, but as Heavy Duty Trucking magazine reported Nov. 30, several smaller industry groups have sued to stop CSA 2010 just before its planned Dec. 5 rollout.
Led by the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, the groups have asked a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. for an emergency stay. They want to block the part of CSA 2010 that would release safety data, reportedly because they are concerned that customers and plaintiffs’ attorneys would use that information. The plaintiffs claimed they would suffer irreparable harm from the release of ratings they believe would be unfairly harsh. A filing from the plaintiffs said many carriers now rated satisfactory would have a “deficient/alert” rating that would hurt their business. Furthermore, they said, attorneys for people hurt in trucking accidents could use the ratings to argue that the defendant should never have hired the “deficient” carrier. They want the FMCSA to use its full rulemaking procedure, which would require public comment and notice, and to disclose the methods it uses to come up with the new safety ratings.
It’s not hard for St. Louis tractor-trailer accident lawyers like me to read between the lines and conclude that the plaintiffs in this case are ultimately worried about their profits more than their safety. In fact, the arguments excerpted into that article don’t even mention whether the plaintiffs think the ratings are unfair. They discuss the harm the ratings could do to their business, and thus of course their profits. In my opinion, this is the wrong approach to safety ratings. If ratings are shown to be unfair in the future, the FMCSA should certainly address that, but we currently have no evidence for that idea. Instead, we have carriers who are demanding a delay for long-awaited safety ratings improvements because the ratings could possibly be unfair. This sounds a lot like an excuse to delay the ratings — and the increased safety that other drivers deserve.
The FMCSA’s regulations are important the only way we have to detect and stop negligent trucking companies and truck drivers before they get into accidents. Afterward, crash victims and their families may be able to sue — but the damage has already been done. In my practice as a southern Illinois tanker truck accident attorney, I help clients who are dealing with the life-changing effects of a serious crash, including a permanent disability or death of a loved one, six-figure medical bills, loss of an income and more. My firm, Carey, Danis & Lowe, represents clients seeking to hold a negligent truck driver or company responsible for causing those injuries and their costs. In addition to helping crash victims win the compensation they need to treat their injuries, we help clients protect their rights against overreaching from carriers that would rather minimize their costs than do right by the people they have harmed.
If your family has suffered a serious injury or a loss because of a careless trucker, you don’t have to handle it alone. Contact us through our website today or call us at 1-877-678-3400 toll-free for a free, confidential evaluation of your case.