While “drayage” trucks used to be regulated by their own industry standards, they've recently become subject to FMCSA regulations.
Intermodal freight transport allows for the transportation of freight containers through multiple avenues such as railway, ship, and truck so the freight itself does not have to be handled when changing from one mode to another. This promotes security, safety, and damage losses. Trucks typically fit into the equation by connecting the container from the ocean to rail segments of transportation and vice versa. Intermodal equipment providers are freight carriers that transport containers with trucks.
This is a specialized form of trucking that is typically used around major ports and railroad terminals.
Since these trucks are specialized to carry the cargo for a short interval from ocean to rail, it is called "drayage." This is highly different from interstate truck driving and other types of commercial vehicle transportation. Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule about IEPs. While previously, they were regulated by their own industry standards, these drayage trucks are now subject to FMCSA federal regulations. This was done to enhance safety of this form of transportation in particular. These trucks will now have to be maintained more often and loaded more carefully.
Under the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users" (SAFETEA-LU), each IEP driver must register with FMCSA, establish inspections and repairs to ensure compliance with SAFETEA-LU, obtain and keep documentation from all maintenance performed, and develop a plan to effectively respond to any mechanical defects. These drivers do not have to perform these inspections themselves, but they may contract out those who are designated as acceptable maintenance workers. The driver is still ultimately responsible for the safety of their vehicle.
The safety requirements have also changed.
Before a driver operates their intermodal freight transport, they must inspect all the equipment components to make sure they are in good working order. The driver must also report to the IEP or whoever the designated agent is if they notice damage or defects. Whether defects are discovered or not, the driver must still issue a report of what was found in the vehicle inspection. The FMCSA will not conduct regular inspections and reviews to make sure that their drivers are in compliance with all the regulations.
If a driver is found in violation, then they will be cited and incur civil penalties.
In order to spot an intermodal freight carrier, you need to look at the chassis; intermodal containers will have something called "twistlocks" located at each chassis lower corner of the chassis. On IMEs there is marking on the chassis itself rather than on the container being shipped. There should also be information located on the rear doors of these containers, because containers are typically marked with information such as the maximum weight, net weight, cubic capacity, etc.
To learn more about these vehicles and the regulations that apply to them, click here.
If you have been involved in an accident with an intermodal freight carrier and that vehicle did not meet the regulations that were active as of 2009, then you may be entitled to compensation. These truck drivers and their supervisors may be financially penalized, but you may still be able to file a personal injury claim to recover your losses. Arnold & Itkin LLP is a team of skilled truck accident lawyers who know what it takes to get justice for their clients.
If you were injured in such an accident, contact the firm today!