The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a rulemaking proposal designed to enhance the Agency’s ability to identify non-compliant motor carriers. The Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), to be published in the Federal Register, would update FMCSA’s safety fitness rating methodology by integrating on-road safety data from inspections, along with the results of carrier investigations and crash reports, to determine a motor carrier’s overall safety fitness on a monthly basis.
“Ensuring that motor carriers are operating safely on our nation’s roadways is one of our highest priorities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Using all available information to achieve more timely assessments will allow us to better identify unsafe companies and get them off the road.”
“This update to our methodology will help the agency focus on carriers with a higher crash risk,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Carriers that we identify as unfit to operate will be removed from our roadways until they improve.”
The proposed SFD rule would replace the current three-tier federal rating system of “satisfactory–conditional–unsatisfactory” for federally regulated commercial motor carriers (in place since 1982) with a single determination of “unfit,” which would require the carrier to either improve its operations or cease operations.
Once in place, the SFD rule will permit FMCSA to assess the safety fitness of approximately 75,000 companies a month. By comparison, the agency is only able to investigate 15,000 motor carriers annually – with less than half of those companies receiving a safety rating.
The proposed methodology would determine when a carrier is not fit to operate commercial motor vehicles in or affecting interstate commerce based on:
(1) the carrier’s performance in relation to a fixed failure threshold established in the rule for five of the agency’s Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs);
(2) investigation results; or
(3) a combination of on-road safety data and investigation information.
The proposed rule further incorporates rigorous data sufficiency standards and would require that a significant pattern of non-compliance be documented in order for a carrier to fail a BASIC.
When assessing roadside inspection data results, the proposal uses a minimum of 11 inspections with violations in a single BASIC within a 24-month period before a motor carrier could be eligible to be identified as “unfit.” If a carrier’s individual performance meets or exceeds the failure standards in the rule, it would then fail that BASIC. The failure standard will be fixed by the rule. A carrier’s status in relation to that fixed measure would not be affected by other carriers’ performance.
Failure of a BASIC based on either crash data or compliance with drug and alcohol requirements would only occur following a comprehensive investigation.
FMCSA estimates that under this proposal, less than 300 motor carriers each year would be proposed as “unfit” solely as a result of on-road safety violations. Further, the agency’s analysis has shown that the carriers identified through this on-road safety data have crash rates of almost four times the national average.
FMCSA encourages the public to review the NPRM and to submit comments and evidentiary materials to the docket following its publication in the Federal Register. The public comment period will be open for 60 days. FMCSA will also be providing a reply comment period allowing for an additional 30 days for commenters to respond to the initial comments.
For more information on FMCSA’s Safety Fitness Determination proposed rule, including a full copy of the NPRM, an instructional webinar, and a Safety Fitness Determination Calculator, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sfd.
- See more at: https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/fmcsa-proposes-new-rule-determining-safety-fitness-motor-carriers#sthash.T86bJYjL.dpuf
Recently Released Federal Crash and Mileage Data Show Reductions in Crash Rates
Arlington, Va. – An analysis of data from the Department of Transportation done by the American Trucking Associations shows over both the long- and short-term that the rate of truck-involved fatalities is declining.
“America’s trucking industry has invested billions to improve safety and that commitment is paying off,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.
According to ATA’s analysis of miles traveled data from the Federal Highway Administration and highway fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the truck-involved fatality rate fell for the second straight year to 1.40 per 100 million miles traveled.
Per NHTSA, there were 3,903 truck-involved fatalities in 2014, a decline of 61 total from the previous year. At the same time, the number of miles traveled by large trucks rose to more than 279 billion. Of note, these figures only represent fatalities where a large truck was involved in the crash and do not reflect causation. Numerous studies have found that trucks are responsible for initiating less than a third of all fatal car-truck crashes, which is why ATA supports aggressive traffic enforcement and education programs aimed at changing the unsafe behaviors of all motorists.
The fatality rate dipped 2.78% from 2013 and has fallen 4.76% over the past two years. More importantly, it has fallen an impressive 40.6% over the past decade.
“The short-term decline is welcome news, but the important figure is the long-term trend,” Graves said. “Short-term changes, whether they’re increases or declines, can be blips – and just like you shouldn’t track your 401k on a daily basis, they shouldn’t be the primary lens truck safety is viewed through. The long-term trend – in this case, a more than 40% improvement – is of paramount importance.”
“Our industry has worked hard, and invested in technology and training to improve highway safety not just for our drivers, but for all motorists,” said ATA Executive Vice President for National Advocacy Dave Osiecki. “And while there is more work to do, it is gratifying to see those efforts paying off in safer roads for all of us.”
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook.Trucking Moves America Forward
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will hold public listening sessions on the benefits and feasibility of voluntary compliance, and ways to credit carriers and drivers who establish programs that promote safety beyond standard FMCSA regulations.
The listening sessions will be held on Jan. 12 from 9:30 to 11:30 am and 2:30 to 4:30 pm (EST), and on Jan. 31 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. FMCSA will post information in advance at www.fmcsa.dot.gov on how to participate via live webcast.
Have Family or Friends in the Commercial Bus or Truck Industry? Help Keep These Drivers Safe on the Road!
The art contest lets children encourage truck, bus, and all drivers to buckle up for safety. Children K-6th grade (ages 5-12) are eligible if they have relatives who work in the truck or bus industry, or are sponsored by the CMV Safety Belt Partnership members.
Awards are made in two categories:
• Kindergarten through second grade, and
• Third through sixth grades.
The Partnership makes one grand prize and five honorable mention awards for each category.
Grand prize winners receive a cash award and framed copy of their winning artwork.
All 12 winners receive a certificate, have their artwork featured in a calendar, and are invited to an awards ceremony at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, DC. Winners are also invited to a special event at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.
Remember to enter by March 1, 2016!
CVSA's International Driver Excellence Award (IDEA) recognizes exceptional commercial motor vehicle drivers who go above and beyond the call of duty through the achievement of safe operation compliance carried out with evident distinction for an extended period of time. Nominate an exceptional driver today. For more information, go to http://cvsa.org/programs/driver_excellence_award/.
The FAST Act highway bill signed into law Dec. 4, along with a raft of provisions that in some ways pulled back the reins on the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Safety Measurement System, also included a section intended to be a potential addition to the program. Headed “Beyond compliance,” the section details several additional requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over the next 18 months, the same length of time the bill gave FMCSA to address several issues with the CSA SMS and report back to Congress.
The highway bill’s “Beyond compliance” directives require FMCSA to develop and implement in that time an incentive system for carriers that gives credit either in the CSA SMS or via some other methodology in the CSA program to carriers who do one of several things in their safety investments and operations. According to the bill’s text, credits are to be required for motor carriers who do one or a combination of the following:
But this isn’t the first to be heard of it. FMCSA launched a request for comments on such an initiative in April, as previously reported, following a March “Beyond compliance” discussion by the agency’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee. The committee discussed possibilities for credit-worthy activities in its September-issued letter to FMCSA. Among them were carrier use of technologies such as various collision mitigation systems, speed limiters and electronic logs; management practices, including driver training of various kinds, that promote safety; and compensation models/levels that promote safety, such as incentive programs.
MCSAC also recommended that a third party, rather than FMCSA, administer the program. Language in the highway bill explicitly enables such an option, but leaves the decision up to the agency.
Organizations that filed comments in response to FMCSA’s early-year request warned against structuring the program such that it becomes nothing more than a way of rewarding one group of carriers for doing some they already do. Of particular issue was investment in leading-edge technologies, more common among the larger fleets. Noted the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Alliance in its comments, “Although similar concepts have proven more successful with larger motor carriers in other jurisdictions around the globe, it is critical that the Beyond Compliance program be inclusive of all sectors of the motor carrier industry, including smaller motor carriers.”
The American Trucking Associations, while applauding attention to a potential program that would “help alter a challenging paradigm by changing FMCSA from an agency that takes an enforcement-centric approach to one that recognizes the safety benefits of incenting and rewarding safe behavior,” also recognized challenges to implementation.
In addition to SMS credits of some kind, reduction of carrier Inspection Selection System scores, utilized by bypass programs and law enforcement as a marker of inspection priority at the roadside, has likewise been discussed.
Relief from existing regulations, such as bonus hours flexibility or another incentive, however, CVSA warned against: “The Beyond Compliance program should not include any relief from existing regulations or requirements. The purpose of such a program is to recognize motor carriers who go above and beyond the minimum requirements. Releasing participating motor carriers from the minimum requirements is inappropriate and in direct conflict with the purpose of the program. CVSA strongly opposes any effort to do so.”
Article is from Commercial Carrier Journal by Todd Dills
ATA Share the Road Professionals Offer Holiday Travel Tips
Arlington, Va. – With more than 99 million motorists expected to use the nation’s highways this holiday season – and only one traveling via flying sleigh – American Trucking Associations and the Share the Road highway safety program want to ensure everyone arrives at their destinations safely by being nice and not naughty on the roads this year.
“Even though reindeer do a great job of navigating the sleigh, drivers should not pretend to be Dasher or Comet when taking to the highways this month,” said professional driver John McKown (UPS Freight). “Safe driving is critical this time of year and there are many steps you can take to prepare for holiday travel. Take a minute to review our list of good highway safety habits before going over the river and through the woods.”
“Winter weather poses many unique challenges to the motoring public and professional truck drivers and we want to remind everyone that the goal should be to arrive safely. That may mean leaving a few minutes early or being extra cautious when facing difficult road conditions,” said professional driver Bill West (ABF Freight). “Truck drivers are delivering many of the products that play important roles in holiday celebrations, such as decorations, wrapping paper and cookies, so we all must work together to share the road safely in order to have happy holidays.
The Share the Road highway safety program compiled this list of tips for drivers hitting the road this holiday season:
“Trucks move many of the things that make our holidays possible, but not everything,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in a video message. “Trucks do not move the family and friends we celebrate with, so on behalf of the millions of professional truck drivers on the road, I urge you to be safe on the highways this holiday season.”
The FMCSA announces a 120-day grace period during which Medical Examiners may use either the current or the newly revised versions of the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form and Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC). This period is from December 22, 2015, until April 20, 2016. This action is being taken to ensure that Medical Examiners have sufficient time to become familiar with the new forms and to program electronic medical records systems.
View Federal Register notice at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-21/pdf/2015-32001.pdf.
Retaining Restart Suspension Provides Long-Term Benefit for Trucking Safety
The Medical Examiner's Certification Integration final rule requires certified Medical Examiners (MEs) to continue using the current driver examination forms found on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website until December 22, 2015, and to use the newly revised driver examination forms discussed in the final rule beginning December 22, 2015.
FMCSA posted the final PDF versions of the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875 and Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC) Form, MCSA-5876 on the FMCSA and National Registry websites. However, the agency reports that the delays in posting the forms do not allow examiners enough time to fulfill their duties.
As a result of the unexpected delays in posting the final versions of the driver examination forms and recognizing that MEs need to have access to the forms prior to the effective date for a number of reasons, the FMCSA is planning to postpone the effective date for use of the newly revised MER and MEC. FMCSA will be publishing a Federal Register notice announcing this change and providing a revised effective date. 2015 © J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
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