Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed updates and changes to their carrier fitness determining protocols. The current set-up operates on a three-tiered structure. The fitness determining structure determines the fitness level based on analysis of existing motor carrier data, collected information that comes from an investigation, and lastly a compliance review. The compliance review is conducted at the place in which the carrier operates business and/or through a review of its records remotely.
The new proposal, posed this week by FMCSA, could completely eliminate, and restructure the analysis protocols.
With the current analysis, FMCSA also calculates a carrier’s out-of-service rate and crash involvement of the vehicle. They also perform an in-depth look into the compliance of the carrier and how closely they followed both acute and critical regulations.
Acute regulations are ones in which noncompliance with them requires immediate corrective action in order to comply. Critical regulations are ones that deal with management and operational system controls.
With the proposed changes, FMCSA is considering adding the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Safety Measurement System that they work with into the carrier fitness determining process. Some analysts expect many to be upset with this addition, but as of right now, it is hard to determine exactly what the reaction to the proposal will be.
In order to understand how carriers feel about the changes, the federal agency is asking for carriers’ opinions on their proposal and ask that all comments be sent in by October 30th.
Previously, there had been another proposal made by FMCSA to adjust the determination process back in 2016. The proposal at the time also proposed a shift to using the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability system. There was not a lot of support or belief in this system at the time so many were outspokenly against the changes. This ultimately led to FMCSA rescinding its proposal.
Many trucking industry-connected people have spoken out already on their feelings over FMCSA’s want to change the structure. Brandon Wiseman, a transportation attorney, thinks the shift is due to FMCSA being short-staffed. He believes they are looking for means of conducting more inspections remotely. As such, they are trying to change the protocol to allow for more room for remote inspection to be conducted easily.