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Columbus, Ohio

Columbus Trucking Accidents in Focus as FMCSA Draws Fire

A truck accident near downtown Columbus left a semi hanging off of a bridge and stopped traffic for several hours as firefighters used a ladder truck to rescue the driver. Reports indicate it is not clear why the trucker lost control, resulting in the semi hanging off the bridge. The tire may have come off the vehicle and caused it to sway, or the impact of the collision may have resulted in the tire separating. truck-1192523-m

If it turns out the tire did come off, this may indicate that the truck was not maintained or inspected in compliance with requirements set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA has myriad regulations that trucking companies must comply with, and a trucking company that violates the rules can be held legally liable for accident damages with the help of a Columbus OH truck accident attorney.

Unfortunately, FMCSA's compliance program designed to identify truck carriers with a high-risk of a collision has recently been criticized by both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). There may be serious flaws with the program - which is called Compliance, Safety Accountability (CSA)-- and these flaws may prevent FMCSA from being as effective as it should in reducing the collision risk.

Faults Found in FMCSA Program

The goal of the CSA program is to enhance the enforcement of trucking safety regulations for carriers who are considered high-risk because of past problems. FMCSA has limited staff and compliance investigations can take several days, so efforts to find problems should be targeted at carriers that are most likely to break the rules.

Unfortunately, the GAO believes that insufficient information is available for FMCSA to accurately label companies as high or low risk.  FMCSA has safety records on around 200,000 carriers but this is less than half of all active trucking companies.  The DOT also said only 10 states have actually implemented CSA and are providing needed information to FMCSA, while the remaining 40 are awaiting the technology they need to participate.

Without sufficient information, FMCSA's ratings are not very accurate. Small trucking companies may especially be penalized because of the problems, with some companies with no serious violations appearing to be more high risk than larger carriers with an accident history.

In addition to the absence of sufficient data, FMCSA may also not be looking at the right information. The GAO suggests that the rules FMCSA is looking at to give companies a risk rating aren't actually violated often enough to paint an accurate picture of company safety or to necessarily have a correlation between the violations and the accident risk.

These serious criticisms suggest that FMCSA has a long way to go in its efforts to design a compliance system that makes the most effective use of its resources and maximizes the chances of stopping truck collisions caused by companies that fail to live up to their federal safety obligations.

Contact our Columbus, OH truck accident lawyers today. Call 1-800-930-SCOTT for a free case consultation. 

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Scott Smith is a lawyer based out of Columbus, Ohio. He works hard to protect the rights of personal injury victims. He has three decades of experience in Central Ohio in cases ranging from car and truck accidents to premises liability.

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