For the first time in more than 30 years, trucking regulators at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are proposing to update their methods for evaluating the safety fitness of trucking companies and other motor carriers.
According to the official announcement, the FMCSA has published a “Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” in the Federal Register. If approved, this new SFD Rule would reportedly:
- Replace the current three-category fitness system – While the current SFD methodology allows regulators to designate motor carriers as being satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory, the new rule would simply provide for a single designation of “unfit.”
- Provide more information to regulators making fitness determinations for motor carriers – In fact, the new SFD Rule would allow for the consideration of crash investigation reports, roadside inspection reports, and on-road safety data when evaluating how safe a particular motor carrier’s vehicles and drivers are on the roads.
- Provide clear options for unfit motor carriers – Specifically, the new SFD Rule would require motor carriers that have been deemed to be unfit/unsafe to make certain improvements or to cease their operations.
Regulators are encouraging the public to submit comments on this proposed SFD Rule for the next few months, with the deadline for public comments being March 21, 2016.
To view the entire text of the proposed SFD Rule, click here.
The Proposed SFD Rule: Projected Impacts & Reactions
If the new SFD Rule goes into effect (in its current form), it is expected to:
- Improve the identification of risky trucking companies, including those that violate federal regulations and tend to have a higher crash rates (than “fit” companies)
- Facilitate the evaluation of motor carriers, as federal regulators would reportedly be able to investigate about three times as many companies each month.
The trucking companies and other motor carriers that are expected to be affected by this update include those that have “11 or more inspections with violations in two or more BASICs and/or an investigation with violations cited in the past month.”
Noting the importance of this proposed Rule, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has commented that:
Ensuring that motor carriers are operating safely on our nation’s roadways is one of our highest priorities… Using all available information to achieve more timely assessments will allow us to better identify unsafe companies and get them off the road.
Contact the Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law
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