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What are potential FMCSA follow-on procedures for trucking businesses?

Follow-on actions are one of three possible responses to violations of FMCSA rules and regulations. Of the three responses, a Follow-On is considered to be the most severe and significant. All interventions by the FMCSA were designed to help educate, inform, and support businesses that have run afoul of regulations, but the Follow-On options are the most severe and most likely to trigger penalties.

3 types of intervention by the FMCSA

There are a few types of intervention from the FMCSA.

  • 1 – Early contact: This initial stage includes notification of issues via targeted warning letters and an increase in roadside inspections. The goal is to notify the brand that problems exist and give them time and tools to remedy key issues.
  • 2 – Investigation: Both onsite and roadside investigations are conducted to uncover further violations and issues and to identify opportunities for training and improvement.
  • 3 – Follow On: Violations are assessed and penalties may be enforced; this is a critical stage that could lead to sanctions and losses.

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Potential follow-on actions.

Once your brand has been placed into follow-on status, several things can occur. While every business and circumstance is unique, follow-on intervention could include the following, as detailed below.

Cooperative Safety Plan (CSP).

This is a voluntary plan created to address all stated safety concerns and designed to target all identified issues. Brands may begin with a Cooperative Safety Plan (CSP) or have one that is tied to a later stage of the Follow-On process. The Cooperative Safety Plan (CSP) can be used at the same time as a Notice of Violation – but will not replace the more advanced and serious Notice of Claim.

Notice of Violation (NOV).

This is a formal notification that the violations your brand has received are severe enough to require formal notice and action, but not severe enough to trigger civil penalties. At this stage, your brand can either contest the violations or take verifiable corrective actions.

Notice of Claim (NOC).

This is a formal notice from the FMCSA that a brand is in jeopardy of losing their right to operate and that they could face civil penalties. This is the last chance to remedy issues before your brand is prevented from operating.

Operation Out of Service Order (OOS).

The final stage, which includes an order to cease all operations – the most severe penalty that can be incurred during the intervention process.

Understanding what happens when your brand begins to trigger notices and complaints from the FMCSA ensures you take any potential issues seriously – and that you respond before small issues turn into large ones. You have many opportunities to prevent your brand from being removed from the nation’s roadways and to avoid losing your ability to run your business, provided you take the earliest stages of the process seriously and address any concerns right away.

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