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FMCSA adjusts fine schedule, increases effective June 2

Inflation, deterrence basis for higher civil penalties

The penalty for a driver who violates an out-of-service order is about to get $1,000 more expensive, and that’s just one example of a new civil penalty schedule for violations of federal trucking regulations.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Friday published the adjusted schedule in the Federal Register. The inflation-based increases are the first since 2007 for many of the violations, and some have not been changed since 2003, the notice says.

Other changes to the civil penalties were mandated by Congress in MAP-21, the federal highway spending package passed in 2012.

The changes take effect June 2.

In passing the law requiring the inflation adjustments, Congress said that increasing penalties over time will deter violations. Therefore, according to the notice, “FMCSA infers that there may be some safety benefits that occur,” although this “deterrence effect … cannot be reliably quantified.”

And because FMCSA determined the adjustments fall within the agency’s “ministerial” duties, a public comment period prior to implementation is “unnecessary,” the notice says.

A table of the changes is below, or the official notice chart, complete with legal citations, is here.

Click to enlarge

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