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FMCSA Publishes 2012-2016 Strategic Plan

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Week of May 7, 2012
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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published its 2012-2016 Strategic Plan. This plan gives a general overview of the FMCSA mission over the next four years.

Naturally, safety takes the focus of the strategic plan. Under the subtitle ‘Preventing Crashes... Saving Lives’, the plan details FMCSA’s goals for improving the safety record of the motor carrier industry and to reduce the risk of crashes and accidents. In its mission statement, the Agency takes a high-minded approach to this:

Reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving CMV transportation through education, innovation, regulation, enforcement, financial assistance, partnerships, and full accountability.

While the Strategic Plan does not contain a detailed list of the regulations we can expect over the next four years, it does go over the general regulatory topics that FMCSA will be looking at. It also introduces the major ‘branded’ terms we will be hearing in the near future.

Focus Areas

The agency has grouped its organizational goals into four Focus Areas:

• CMV “Safety 1st” Culture
• Exponential Safety Power (SafetyX Power)
• Comprehensive Data Utilization and Leveraging Technology, and
• One FMCSA

Each of these terms represents an area of the strategic plan that FMCSA will attempt to achieve using regulations, data collection and enforcement actions.

CMV “Safety 1st” Culture

This isn’t the first time that we have heard the ‘Safety 1st’ branding from FMCSA; this covers the agency’s actions to improve safety over what it calls the transportation life cycle. In this plan, FMCSA is focusing on the New Entrants. It aims to ‘raise the bar’ to enter the motor carrier industry through:

“New credentialing standards to include effective vetting, educating, and testing elements for all regulated entities”

This would mean a stricter adherence to the rules for applications — the agency would no longer accept incomplete applications. It would also mean that we would finally see CSA being used to create Safety Fitness Determinations.

Carriers should expect an EOBR regulation tied to the ‘Safety 1st’ campaign. This would be a revised version of the rules that were recently thrown out by a Federal court.

We may also see a more drastic overhaul of the New Entrant system as FMCSA investigates complaints about the current new motor carrier program.

Exponential Safety Power (SafetyX Power)

This drive aims to utilize the Agency’s significant safety data collection abilities to work with new partners and the public. It would also seek out new methods of sharing that data with the public in useful ways. The recent SaferBus iPhone app is a good example of this.

Comprehensive Data Utilization and Leveraging Technology

FMCSA would also conduct more research on safety and accident-causes. This data will be used to trigger new regulations and new ways of sharing information with carriers.

This mission would also include more studies on driver safety and health. Something — with the Sleep Apnea drive — we have already seen a build up of in recent months.

One FMCSA

One FMCSA is more of an internal drive to retain and hire good employees. Motor carriers, however, will probably welcome the call for improved communications about FMCSA activities.

Not Concrete

As always, this is a plan, and to a degree, somewhat of a ‘wish-list’. Four years is a relatively short time in the regulatory world and FMCSA has given themselves a lot of projects. Also remember, things change. No-one could have predicted the huge push against Passenger Carriers in 2011, which was triggered by an accident. Responding to Congressional pressure, the media and the public, FMCSA may be forced to realign at any given moment. However, the plan does serve as a general guide to what we will all be dealing with over the next four years.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 737 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2012