Trucking Regulatory Update: Increased Insurance Minimums, DOT Fraud Alert & SMS Website Changes

Trucking Regulatory Update: Increased Insurance Minimums, DOT Fraud Alert & SMS Website Changes

FMCSA’s increased minimum insurance requirement target date moved up
The House of Representatives recently voted to block the federal government from raising the minimum liability insurance limits for trucks as recommended by the regulatory agency for the trucking industry. The FMCSA’s report to Congress stated that current minimum financial responsibility limits for the commercial motor vehicle industry – including the $750,000 limit for general freight carriers — are inadequate to meet the costs of some crashes, mainly because of rising medical costs. The minimum limits have not been raised in more than 30 years. FMCSA moved up the date in which it projects to publish a proposed insurance increase rule to Sept. 19, from last month’s November projection. Continuing congressional action of late is trying to rein in FMCSA’s regulatory activities.

DOT requesting info about fraudulent letters issued to motor carriers
The US DOT issued a warning that a round of fraudulent letters has been issued to DOT contractors and potential contractors purporting to be issued by the Department. These fraudulent letters request that current or potential contractors register by submitting their company’s financial information on a release form entitled, “Authorization to release financial information”. The DOT emphasizes that it does not require any financial information to be submitted in order to be eligible for procurement.

If you have been targeted, the DOT urges businesses not to complete the release form which is attached to the letter and not to release any information to the fax number cited in the letter. If you suspect you have received one of these letters, immediately contact Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General Hotline at (800) 424-9071. To view a sample of the latest letter currently being sent to DOT customers, visit:

Changes to the SMS website to be implemented on August 2
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is implementing a number of changes designed to improve the Safety Measurement System website, some in response to industry feedback. The changes, which the agency proposed last November based on suggestions from the industry and others, are intended to make the website more accessible and useful. In addition to the changes it proposed last year, the agency is adding several new innovations suggested by industry groups. Here’s a rundown of what will be new when the changes are implemented on August 2.

  • The site will display a carrier’s summary status in the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. The aim is to clarify if a carrier’s performance will lead to enforcement intervention. The agency said it will give users single-click access to detailed BASIC information.
  • In response to a comment by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the agency will clarify how on-road performance data and investigation results are factored into a carrier’s status.
  • The site will feature a tour to explain the revisions.
  • The site will let users download the public data for all carriers in the same safety event group, such as inspections or crashes, used to rank the carrier’s BASIC percentile. This does not include the Crash Indicator and HazMat Compliance data.
  • The site will highlight a carrier’s performance in each BASIC to identify any trends. The agency will include descriptions of a carrier’s measure and explanations of its relationship to the carrier’s percentile.
  • The site will change the display of the BASICs based on effectiveness.
  • The site will include a carrier’s safety rating from a compliance review, information that formerly had to be  taken from a different database.
  • The site will show a carrier’s current insurance and authority status. It will include a link to the Licensing & Insurance Online Web Site.
  • The carrier’s enforcement case history will be posted in  response to a suggestion by American Trucking Associations, the agency will provide a link to its Civil Penalties Web Site.
  • The site will offer a variety of customizable displays and graphs to portray safety performance over time.
  • The site will display the total number of inspections and a breakdown of the number of inspections with violations.
  • The site will clarify SMS terminology.

The agency is adding four other changes based on suggestions it received.

  • It will show carriers their Inspection Selection System data on the Carrier Overview page.
  • It will show driver and vehicle out-of-service information based on public data from its Safety and Fitness Electronic Records site.
  • In response to a suggestion by ATA, the agency will provide a link to its test of the Safety Management System’s effectiveness. It also will display the results in graphs on the web site.
  • In response to a suggestion by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the agency will post the carrier’s “Doing Business As” name.

FMCSA will hold three educational webinars, with two on August 20, 2014 (10:00-11:30 a.m. and 2:00-3:30 p.m.), and a third to be held on August 21, 2014 (2:00-3:30 p.m.). Webinar participants will be able to ask questions and receive real-time responses. Additionally during the webinars, FMCSA staff will discuss and answer questions on the Agency’s new adjudicated citations policy, which takes effect August 23, 2014. To register for one of the upcoming three educational webinars, visit:

Contact your Interstate Motor Carriers Regional VP to learn more:

Craig Weindorf
Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Region VP
Wes Harvey
Mid-Atlantic/Western PA Region
John Heublein
Midwest Region
Wint Smith
Southeast Region VP
Jeff Swing
Tri-State Small Fleet
 Mark Wilson
Regional Vice-President