The bill would establish a separate Motor Carrier Safety Administration with the Department of Transportation. The new administration would be responsible for carrying out the federal motor carrier safety enforcement and regulatory responsibilities currently held by the Federal Highway Administration - except for vehicle retrofitting, which would be transferred to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It would be headed by an Administrator, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
McCain's bill also would require implementation of all of the Inspector General's truck safety recommendations outlined in the Inspector General's April report, including strengthening the Commercial Drivers License Program, improving data collection activities, and promoting the accurate exchange of driver information among the states. It authorizes an additional $50 million a year for motor carrier safety and data improvement programs than the levels established in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century passed last year.
The House Version, called the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1999, was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Bud Shuster, R-PA, with the bipartisan support of several other representatives. It would move truck and bus safety programs out of the Federal Highway Administration and into a new National Motor Carrier Administration dedicated solely to safety, increase federal funding for federal and state safety efforts, and tighten loopholes in federal safety rules, including the Commercial Driver's License. The House Ground Transportation Subcommittee unanimously approved the bill Wednesday.