FMCSA proposes changes to safety fitness determinations
Washington – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing sweeping changes in an effort to improve the quality and quantity of its motor carrier safety fitness determinations.
FMCSA expects to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Jan. 21 Federal Register. The agency proposes to abandon the three-tier rating system of “satisfactory, conditional, unsatisfactory” that has existed since 1982 and replace it with a single finding of “unfit.” Motor carriers deemed unfit will be required to show improvement or cease operations.
FMCSA says it will use data from safety inspections, investigations and crash reports to produce monthly safety fitness determinations. The proposed rule would allow FMCSA to assess about 75,000 organizations a month, compared with the current monthly total of less than 2,000. The agency estimates that fewer than 300 motor carriers per year would be deemed “unfit” solely from on-road safety violations.
“Ensuring that motor carriers are operating safely on our nation’s roadways is one of our highest priorities,” Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in a press release. “Using all available information to achieve more timely assessments will allow us to better identify unsafe companies and get them off the road.”
FMCSA Acting Administrator T.F. Scott Darling III echoed Foxx’s praise.
“This update to our methodology will help the agency focus on carriers with a higher crash risk,” Darling said in the release. “Carriers that we identify as unfit to operate will be removed from our roadways until they improve.”