Warning letters (a sample may be viewed here) are the first step the FMCSA takes to notify trucking companies that they are deficient in a safety area. It is anticipated that 8% of all carriers (about 50,000) will receive warning letters in the next few months according to an article in the March 7, 2011 edition of Transportation Topics, an industry newsletter. This means almost one in every 10 trucks on the roadway is being operated by a trucking company that is unsafe in some fashion.The new government safety system, CSA 2010, will now cause these identified companies to have heightened roadside inspections.

Over time it is hoped that the need for warning letters will decrease as trucking companies become safer in response to these identified problems, or have their authority to operate removed if they fail to fix problems. Currently the trucking industry is starting to boom, with more freight being shipped and more trucks being purchased. In a rising freight environment the temptation for trucking companies  to hire any driver, as long as the loads get moved and the company makes money, is significant. I will continue to post on these issues as the new safety system is implemented and its full ramifications ripple out through the industry, and the legal system.