By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the July 15 print edition of Transport Topics.
Federal officials said they are considering developing a program that would use truck drivers’ violation and inspection data to determine whether they are safe and take corrective action against unsafe ones.
In a report to Congress in June, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not commit to implementing what it called a “driver safety fitness determination” but said that it would involve a nine-year process of studying, testing and going through the regulatory process before such a program could be launched.
An FMCSA spokeswoman would not say whether the agency planned to move forward with driver fitness ratings.
The fitness determination would be part of FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, which gathers inspection and violation data on drivers and motor carriers to determine a priority for such efforts as investigations and inspections.
“The FMCSA has considered how it would augment existing driver efforts by developing an enhanced methodology to identify drivers posing the highest safety risk and implementing enforcement processes to address unsafe driver behavior,” the agency said in its report requested by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
FMCSA’s outline of how it would implement the program, if it decided to proceed, includes five years of planning and testing, followed by four years dedicated to the regulatory process.
The ratings would be similar to carrier safety fitness determinations, which could result in a carrier being taken off the road.
FMCSA is limited in the actions it can take to pull individual drivers off the road. It must declare a driver to be an “imminent hazard” to do so, an action it only takes a few times a year.
The federal agency has planned carrier safety fitness determinations as part of CSA. It said it expects to formally propose a rule for carrier fitness determinations in January 2014... Continue reading.