Federal agencies Trucking Transportation

FMCSA considering revisions to safety fitness determinations

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Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking for input on a possible new methodology for determining whether motor carriers are fit to operate safely.

The agency’s safety fitness determination process uses existing motor carrier data and data collected during compliance reviews to form a three-tiered rating system of satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory. In a notice published Aug. 29, the agency asks for stakeholder feedback on potential revisions to the process.

“The intended effect of this action is to more effectively use FMCSA data and resources to identify unfit motor carriers and to remove them from the nation’s roadways,” the notice states. “A successful SFD methodology may target metrics that are most directly connected to safety outcomes, provide for accurate identification of unsafe motor carriers and incentivize the adoption of safety-improving practices.”

FMCSA is seeking input on:

  • The need for a rulemaking to revise the regulations prescribing the safety fitness determination process.
  • Available science or technical information to analyze regulatory alternatives for determining the safety fitness of motor carriers.
  • Current agency safety fitness determination regulations, including feedback on the process and impacts.
  • Available data and costs for regulatory alternatives reasonably likely to be considered.

Additionally, the agency requests input on 12 specific questions related to safety fitness determinations, including whether to retain the three-tiered rating system.

FMCSA notes in the notice that its safety fitness determination system “is resource-intensive and reaches only a small percentage of motor carriers.” In fiscal year 2019, the agency and state partners conducted fewer than 12,000 compliance reviews among a population of more than 567,000 interstate motor carriers.

Comments are due Oct. 30.

In 2017, FMCSA withdrew a proposed rule that would have changed the SFD process for motor carriers.

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