FMCSA Makes Progress on Safety Fitness Rulemaking

December 15, 2015

By David Cullen

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Image: FMCSA
Image: FMCSA

Notice of a proposed rule that would increase the use of inspection data in making Safety Fitness Determinations for motor carriers is expected to be published by Dec. 29, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

If that date is met, a comment period on the notice of proposed rulemaking would then be opened and run until March 29, 2016.

Even though the agency has been working up its Carrier Safety Fitness Determination (RIN 2126-AB11) rulemaking since 2007, few details on the proposal have yet been divulged.

FMCSA said it is proposing to adopt “revised methodologies” for determining when a motor carrier is not fit to operate based on: (1) the carrier's on-road safety performance in relation to five of the seven Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) tracked by the agency’s CSA program; (2) an investigation; or (3) a combination of on-road safety data and investigation information.

“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 agency stated.

It remains to be seen if the removal of CSA scores from public view, which resulted from a reform provision within the new FAST ACT highway bill, will impact the proposed rule’s use, at least in part, of data derived from most of the BASICs categories.

FMCSA said that, as of Dec. 4, “much of the information previously available on the FMCSA website related to property carrier’s compliance and safety performance will no longer be displayed publicly.” 

The agency stated that while it is not prohibited from displaying all of the data from its CSA program, no information will be available for motor carriers “while appropriate changes are made.”

In an explanatory note, FMCSA said the Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking has been delayed up to this point by a need for additional coordination as well as "unanticipated issues requiring further analysis.”

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