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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Proposal could examine 75,000 motor carriers instead of the 15,000 monthly now

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) would be able to update its safety fitness rating methodology by integrating on-road safety data from inspections, investigations and crash reports to determine a carrier’s overall safety fitness on a monthly basis utilizing the proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) Notice of Proposal Rulemaking (NPRM),

“Ensuring that motor carriers are operating safely on our nation’s roadways is one of our highest priorities,” said U.S. Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx. “Using all available information to achieve more timely assessments will allow us to better identify unsafe companies and get them off the road.”

The proposed SFD rule would replace the existing three-tier federal rating system of ‘satisfactory-conditional-unsatisfactory’ for federally-regulated commercial motor carriers, which has been in place since 1982.

The new rating system would have a single determination of ‘unfit’ which would force the carrier to improve or cease its operations.

The FMCSA would be permitted to assess the safety fitness of around 75,000 companies a month should the new rule be put in place, compared to 15,000 annually under the current policy.

“This update to our methodology will help the agency focus on carriers with a higher crash risk,” said FMCSA acting administrator Scott Darling. “Carriers that we identify as unfit to operate will be removed from our roadways until they improve.”

A carrier would be determined unfit under the SFD rule based on performance, investigation results and on-road safety data combined with the investigation information.

The SFD rule incorporates data standards and would require that a significant pattern of non-compliance be documented in order for a carrier to fail a BASIC, using a minimum of 11 inspections with violations in a single BASIC within a 24-month period prior to being identified as ‘unfit.’

The FMCSA estimates that with the new rule, less than 300 motor carriers would be deemed ‘unfit’ solely as a result of on-road safety violations.