Ted Scott, vice president of engineering for the American Trucking Associations, had a succinct assessment of a recent federal regulatory proposal: “FMCSA has finally gone crazy.”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require trucks and trailers to each carry a label certifying that the vehicle adhered to all federal safety standards on its date of manufacture. If the label is missing, the owner must procure a letter from the manufacturer that the vehicle is in compliance with those standards.
The proposed rule has “no value to safety,” Scott said during his semi-annual equipment and regulatory update to members of ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council, who concluded their fall meeting near Orlando on Thursday. That’s why he dubbed it the “mattress tag rule” after another an old federal requirement that identifies materials used in a mattress but does not make it safer.
ATA has told FMCSA that “there is no safety benefit… only unnecessary administrative compliance costs” connected with the proposed regulation, Scott said. The rule would interrupt interlining of trailers and other equipment among carriers, roadside inspections would take longer, and that would lengthen driver on-duty times.
“Eleven motor carriers out of the 26 responses to a TMC survey indicated that they had missing or unreadable certification labels” on their equipment, he said. “Several commercial vehicle manufacturers are no longer in business, having gone bankrupt, been sold, or just closed their doors, making the ability to obtain a lost- or defaced-certification letter impossible.”
Furthermore, the proposal is the result of a motor coach crash in which the driver was at fault, not the equipment or the standards under which it was built, Scott said. And the recommendations by that National Transportation Safety Board that led to the proposal “have nothing to do with trucking operations.”
Last year FMCSA touted its elimination of the post-trip inspection report when a driver finds no defects, which it claimed would save the trucking industry $1.7 billion, he noted.
“Now, less than a year later, FMCSA is proposing a way to replace that savings with a totally unnecessary, costly burden with no apparent safety benefit,” Scott concluded.