At those times when you may become frustrated with what you believe to be the cumbersome and lumbering manner in which government business is conducted – I invite you to visit the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website. It is a veritable wealth of up-to-date information on all things ‘transportation-related’ – and it should restore your faith in the way in which your tax dollars are spent.
For the purposes of this article we will limit ourselves to the FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) section related to motor carrier safety records. A link to this page has been provided at the end of this entry for those who may be interested in perusing the site at greater length.
*In order to utilize the site effectively you will need some basic information such as the company’s name you are investigating, its USDOT number or (individual) motor carrier (MC) number to perform a search.
*You are also able to search for Motor Carrier Safety Data and find out how the FMCSA uses this specific information to enhance safety in general. One great example is ‘SafeStat’ – which combines current and historical safety performance information to measure the relative safety fitness of commercial motor carriers.
You will note that both the Federal and State data on a variety of indicators including (but not limited to) crashes, roadside inspections, on-site compliance review results and enforcement history are manipulated to discern results.
Another helpful compilation is the ‘Company Snapshot’. This is a free service which provides a ‘concise record of many company’s identification, size, cargo, inspection and out-of-service summary, crash data and safety rating (where available).
If you are interested there is a fee-based service as well that will provide more safety-related information about a company’s operation, including such things as selected items from inspection and crash reports, and results of any reviews or enforcement actions involving the requested company. The service is called Company Safety Profile (CSP).
In addition, the following notice appeared on the FMCSA site regarding the public’s access to motor carrier safety records:
“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched a new web page that improves free public access to orders and decisions on FMCSA civil penalty and safety rating cases. The web page also provides frequently asked questions intended to help parties understand FMCSA’s process for making these legal determinations”.
This was done in response to President Obama’s call for more transparency in government. In their estimation – more access to information and resources will help regulated industry members and drivers understand FMCSA’s compliance and enforcement process.
Before this, FMCSA’s civil penalty and safety rating cases were available only by going to www.regulations.gov or through paid private-sector legal research websites. Now members of the public can search the full text of hundreds of orders and decisions in cases where motor carriers have contested violations and penalties issued by FMCSA.
Decisions from 2009 to the present are currently the only available information.