The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended the comment period for its advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) to revise the regulations prescribing the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) process and other aspects of 88 FR 59489. The deadline for comments is now Nov. 29, 2023.
The SFD, currently incorporated in 49 CFR 385.5, requires that motor carriers have adequate safety management controls in place that ensure acceptable compliance with standards related to safety risks including:
- Commercial driver’s license standard violations;
- Inadequate levels of financial responsibility;
- The use of unqualified drivers;
- Improper use and driving of motor vehicles;
- Unsafe vehicles operating on the highways;
- Failure to maintain accident registers and copies of accident reports;
- The use of fatigued drivers;
- Inadequate inspection, repair, and maintenance of vehicles;
- Transportation of hazardous materials, driving and parking rule violations;
- Violation of hazardous materials regulations; and
- Motor vehicle accidents and hazardous materials incidents.
The factors to be considered in determining the safety fitness and assigning a safety rating include information from safety reviews, compliance reviews and any other data. The factors may include all or some of the following:
- Adequacy of safety management controls. The adequacy of controls may be questioned if their degree of formalization, automation, etc., is found to be substantially below the norm for similar carriers. Violations, accidents or incidents substantially above the norm for similar carriers will be strong evidence that management controls are either inadequate or not functioning properly.
- Frequency and severity of regulatory violations.
- Frequency and severity of driver/vehicle regulatory violations identified during roadside inspections of motor carrier operations in commerce and, if the motor carrier operates in the U.S., of operations in Canada and Mexico.
- Number and frequency of out-of-service driver/vehicle violations of motor carrier operations in commerce and, if the motor carrier operates in the U.S., of operations in Canada and Mexico.
- Increase or decrease in similar types of regulatory violations discovered during safety or compliance reviews.
- For motor carrier operations in commerce and (if the motor carrier operates in the United States) in Canada and Mexico: Frequency of accidents; hazardous materials incidents; accident rate per million miles; indicators of preventable accidents; and whether such accidents, hazardous materials incidents, and preventable accident indicators have increased or declined over time.
- Number and severity of violations of CMV and motor carrier safety rules, regulations, standards, and orders that are both issued by a State, Canada, or Mexico and compatible with Federal rules, regulations, standards, and orders.
SFD regulations are nothing new, having first been enacted by the Federal Highway Administration (predecessor to the FMCSA) in 1988. In the decades since, regulations and requirements have been updated on a regular basis.
According to the FMCSA website, “This ANPRM seeks input regarding new methodologies that would determine when a motor carrier is not fit to operate CMVs in or affecting interstate commerce. The intended effect of this action is to more effectively use FMCSA data and resources to identify unfit motor carriers and to remove them from the nation’s roadways.”
To submit comments online, click here.
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