Safety & Compliance

FMCSA Outlines Long-Term Plan for Driver Fitness Rating

July 10, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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Federal safety officials have a vision for a driver fitness rating system, but it will take close to a decade to get it done.

In a recent report to Congress, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outlined a nine-year plan to develop the system, contingent on getting its other work done and obtaining the resources for the job.

The idea was initially pushed by the Government Accountability Office in 2011, and adopted by the Department of Transportation in 2012.

But before the agency can turn its full attention to driver fitness, it must finish the carrier fitness rule that it’s been working on since 2007.

This regulation would in effect codify the CSA enforcement program so it can be used to issue a safety fitness determination for individual trucking operations.

Because it’s a complex rule and the CSA system is undergoing constant refinement, the agency has been slow out of the gate. The initial proposal for the rule has been bumped several times and now is scheduled for White House vetting in October and to be published early next year. A final version is not likely before 2015.

As this rule would do for carriers, the driver fitness rating system would identify the drivers who pose the highest safety risk and target them for enforcement.

In its report to Congress, the agency said it would begin by assessing the feasibility of creating a system using driver data and severity weighting.

In the second year it would develop a driver safety measurement method and processes for identifying unsafe drivers.

This would be followed by several years of testing, after which the agency would commence four years of notice-and-comment rulemaking.

This program would build on the driver elements of CSA, including the measurement system that uses data from roadside inspections and crashes to evaluate driver safety performance.

The data from this tool is available only to enforcement personnel, not to carriers, the public or the drivers themselves. It is used in carrier investigations, not to determine driver fitness.

The agency explains on its CSA website that investigators look at driver history for major violations, such as driving a truck without a commercial license or driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Comments

  1. 1. r.bryan spoon [ July 11, 2013 @ 04:33AM ]

    So the CSA failure with carrier scoring is going to be the basis for another future failure in measuring driver fitness...how abot just killing CSA all together and save taXpayers the money. It hasn't proven to correctly identify or improve carrier safety. We have wnough rules leave us alone and let us make a living.

  2. 2. Safety Director [ July 11, 2013 @ 06:29AM ]

    As a Safety Director,the Driver Fitness category forces my hand as it pertains to hiring drivers. I will not hire a driver with any points in this category. The last two violations I receiveced in this category were for drivers personal lives. One had his CDL suspended for non payment of child support and the other had his CDL suspended for non payment of auto insurance in his personal vehicle. As I expalined in Data Q, the carrier shouldn't be held responsible for drivers personal lives as I cannot pull an MVR on every driver, every day to assure they aren't suspended. Our government is practially forcing me to not hire drivers who pay child support for fear of them falling behind and getting their CDL suspended. The CSA program then gives both the carrier and driver points if they are caught during the suspension. Again, our government acts as if I should run an MVR on every driver, every day, to avoid this. The program is an epic failure as accidents with fatalities increased last year and our governement doesn't take into consideration the cause and effect of their own programs.

  3. 3. Jeff [ July 11, 2013 @ 07:08AM ]

    CSA is a good program for the carrier and should be as well for drivers. As I have told many drivers you can argue all you want about government intervention and rule-making but it is mostly drivers who have cause what they are facing today. By not policing your vocation enough and building on formatting a driver group strong enough to be respected. In not doing so you have allowed carriers to hire who ever they want, cheapen the freight rates and allow the industry to regulate drivers to justify bad hiring practices, prudent training and loss of respect to the industry and the vocation that once was to be a viable profession.

  4. 4. Text Kills [ July 15, 2013 @ 02:35PM ]

    Driver safety is such a huge issue, especially texting while driving, which has now become the nation's #1 teen killer. We are a community outreach group that is trying to fund a documentary on texting while driving to provide to educators and hopefully save lives. Please check it out, share it if this issue is important, or donate (even $1 helps). Please don't text while driving! http://igg.me/at/textkills

  5. 5. Tony [ July 17, 2013 @ 09:48AM ]

    Jeff, is OOIDA not a strong enough driver group after all they not only represent owner operators but drivers as well. they are also a very well respected organization I myself am a company driver and a life member of OOIDA. I can't think of a better group to represent drivers and owner operators in the United States. as for policing ourselves that is up to the individual driver and the carrier they work for no group is capable of doing such a thing other than law enforcement. Let's all take a hard look at ourselves and our driving habits. Drivers that have an individual CSA score that is high have one because of their own actions. No one can force a driver to speed, drive over there hours, or drive in an unsafe manner but themselves.

 

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