The Department of Transportation is throwing a party next week to inaugurate the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
At the January 25th invitation-only ribbon-cutting, DOT Secretary Rodney Slater is expected to repeat the safety challenge he issued last summer: Reduce fatalities by 50% within the next 10 years.
The agency has a number of initiatives under way but it does not yet have a permanent boss. That position will go to a presidential nominee who must be confirmed by the Senate, and there is no official word on who might be nominated. The number two position, which will be filled by the DOT secretary with the approval of the president, also is open.
The agency is being run by Julie Cirillo, the career safety professional who formerly was in charge of FMCSA’s predecessor agency, the Office of Motor Carrier Safety.
As acting assistant administrator and chief safety officer, Cirillo is in charge of FMCSA’s four departments. Besides administration, the departments manage research, technology and information management; policy and program development; and enforcement. The enforcement department includes compliance, safety programs and field operations.
FMCSA’s current projects include requirements set forth in the safety bill passed by Congress late last year. For example, the agency is working to improve the commercial drivers license, and with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is beginning a major study of the causes of accidents. It also is building a Unified Carrier Register that will provide one-stop shopping for registration and insurance filing.
The agency also plans to participate with the Labor Department, trucking industry groups and the state of Arkansas in a pilot program to train 18-year-olds as truck drivers. If the program is successful, FMCSA will encourage similar efforts elsewhere.
Among the agency’s plans for industry outreach is a series of public hearings on revisions to the hours of service rules. No dates are available yet but the hearings will start in Washington, D.C., and move to Kansas City, California, Atlanta, Denver, Massachusetts and Indianapolis.