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Reforms proposed for safety scoring of trucking companies

Big rigs haul cargo across Mississippi every day, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has the task of tracking how well trucking companies comply with safety regulations. Since 2015, the agency has been under an order from Congress to update its methods for collecting data and scoring the safety records of companies. A 10-page report issued by the agency has presented the proposed reforms that were developed with input from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The FMCSA wants to overhaul the safety and compliance scoring system so that it assigns an absolute value to each trucking company. Currently, the system compares scores of all carriers so that records only show their relative performance in relation to other companies.

To improve data quality, the agency will work more closely with states and private companies to gather information about vehicle miles traveled and crashes. Better data could result in scores that rank carriers more fairly on the basis of their performance.

Transparency represents another goal of the reforms. The FMCSA plans to create a public website where trucking companies, researchers, safety advocates and members of the public can access information about trucking safety.

A person injured in an 18-wheeler accident might need information about a trucking company's maintenance history, the driver's training and hours of service. This information may help build a case for a personal injury claim by citing evidence of negligence. An attorney who represents victims of truck accidents may know how to track down this information and use it to demonstrate the liability of the responsible party. By organizing evidence and filing court papers, an attorney might enable an individual encumbered by medical problems to collect compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation and lost income.

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