Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) increased fines for all federal trucking regulations, effective April 22nd. The organization is required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 to adjust fines annually according to inflation, and this year, all fines increased based on a cost-of-living adjustment multiplier of 1.01636.
Last year was the first year inflation rates were used as a benchmark. Previously, fine adjustments were rounded to the nearest multiple of $1,000. This meant in 2016, fines both increased and decreased thanks to the FMCSA’s “catch-up” adjustment, so fleet owners should pay heed to this year’s increases across the board.
Beside the increased price tag for violating safety regulations, what else does this mean for fleet owners?
For one, fleet owners should focus on maintaining clear records to avoid unnecessary penalties, including tricky out-of-service (OOS) orders. If a driver operates a truck after it has been declared OOS, the fleet is now subject to fines of $1,811 (up from $1,782 last year). GPS fleet management tools monitor vehicle maintenance, ensuring fleet owners know which vehicles can be on the road and which should be in the shop.
Second, fleet owners should use this opportunity to educate their drivers. Recordkeeping violations by drivers just increased to $3,685 (from $3,626 last year), an easy fine to avoid if fleets and drivers utilize fleet tracking solutions to digitally log their hours-of-service. And now that there is a recordkeeping maximum penalty per day of $1,214 (up from $1,194), it’s essential fleets and drivers keep track of all records in an easily presentable way should they get audited.
With these new fines in mind, fleet owners should take measures to ensure a connected fleet that fully understands safety expectations. GPS fleet tracking solutions are an effective way to track compliance easily and accurately – saving fleets time and money in the long run.
For a full list of the increased fines, please visit the Federal Register.