Fleet Management

FMCSA May Reward Carriers for Going Beyond Safety Regs

April 23, 2015

By David Cullen

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment on its potential development of a program that would take into consideration a motor carrier’s “proactive voluntary implementation of state-of-the-art best practices and technologies” when evaluating the company’s safety program.

Dubbed “Beyond Compliance,” the nascent initiative would include voluntary programs implemented by motor carriers that exceed regulatory requirements and result in the improved safety of commercial motor vehicles and drivers as determined by reducing the number and severity of crashes.

FMCSA stated that if Beyond Compliance moves forward, it “would not result in regulatory relief.”

Explaining the rationale for the program, FMCSA cited among several research inputs over the past 10 years what it heard during the six listening sessions it conducted when formulating the Compliance, Safety, Accountable program.

In those sessions, said the agency it was “agreed that an incentive-based approach to improving carrier safety would be a more effective tool than the current penalty-based system.”

In its notice requesting public comment on the proposed program in the Federal Register for April 23, FMCSA said it is seeking responses to specific questions and any supporting data the agency should consider regarding the potential development of the program. 

FMCSA would like responses to the following specific questions as well as the submission of any other reports or data on this issue:

1) What voluntary technologies or safety program best practices would be appropriate for a Beyond Compliance program?

2) What safety performance metrics should be used to evaluate the success of voluntarily implemented technologies or safety program best practices?

3) What incentives would encourage motor carriers to invest in technologies and best practices programs?

a. Credit on appropriate SMS scores (e.g., credit in Driver Fitness for use of an employer notification system)?

b. Credit on ISS scores?

c. Reduction in roadside inspection frequency?

d. Other options?

4) What events should cause the incentives to be removed?

a. If safety goals for the carrier are not consistently achieved, what is the benefit to the motoring public?

5) Should this program be developed by the private sector like PrePass, ISO 9000, or Canada's Partners in Compliance (PIC)?

6) How would FMCSA verify that the voluntary technologies or safety programs were being implemented?

The 60-day comment period ends on June 22.

The docket (FMCSA-2015-0124) can be viewed and comments posted online here.

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