The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a rulemaking proposal designed to enhance its ability to identify non-compliant motor carriers.
“This update to our methodology will help the agency focus on carriers with a higher crash risk. Carriers that we identify as unfit to operate will be removed from our roadways until they improve,” said Scott Darling, acting administrator for FMCSA.
The proposal would update the agency’s safety fitness rating procedure by integrating on-road safety data from inspections, along with the results of carrier investigations and crash reports, to determine a carrier’s overall safety fitness.
This would replace the current three-tier federal rating system of satisfactory–conditional–unsatisfactory for federally regulated commercial motor carriers to the simple classification of unfit. The current system has been in place since 1982.
The change requires carriers to either improve or cease operations. Once in place, the rule will permit FMCSA to assess the safety fitness of approximately 75,000 companies a month.
FMCSA estimates that less than 300 motor carriers annually would be deemed unfit solely as a result of on-road safety violations, as these carriers identified by on-road safety data have crash rates of roughly four times the national average.
“Ensuring that motor carriers are operating safely on our nation’s roadways is one of our highest priorities. Using all available information to achieve more timely assessments will allow us to better identify unsafe companies and get them off the road,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The FMCSA proposal ties into the recent Head Start announcement listing a number of driver qualifications that agencies providing transportation services must comply with to work with the program.
Some of the prerequisites include having a valid CDL for vehicles in the same class as the one in operation; meeting physical, mental and other requirements established under applicable law as necessary to perform job-related functions; and checking an applicant's driving record through the appropriate state agency.
The Kentucky Head Start agency director will present on this topic at TSD, March 11-16 in Louisville, Kentucky.