Barletta Scores Victory When FMCSA Shelves Safety Fitness Determination Rule


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) proposed rule to determine the fitness of motor carriers to operate based on flawed metrics has been officially put on hold until the agency complies with requirements mandated by the FAST Act.  IME joined other stakeholders to celebrate this hard won victory and to thank Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) for his tireless efforts to point out flaws in the methodologies meant to identify carriers and drivers likely to cause crashes.  First, Barletta lead the effort to get reform requirements included in the FAST Act that require the National Research Council to review the FMCSA safety fitness proposal to identify and recommend improvements.  FMCSA was then required to develop a corrective action plan to address the NRC recommendations.  Finally, the Department’s inspector general would have to verify that corrections were made.  In the meantime, FMCSA was prohibited from publically disclosing rankings based on the flawed methodology.  When FMCSA proposed its safety fitness determination rule in January 2016 without meeting the FAST Act requirements, Barletta acted again.  He joined with Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) to successfully push for a rider in the House version of the FY 2017 transportation spending bill that would deny funding for the rule until the agency complied with the requirements of the FAST Act.  Finally, Barletta and Gibbs spearheaded a letter signed by 35 Members of Congress to FMCSA expressing concern about the agency’s actions to move forward on the proposed rule before completing FAST Act requirements.  On May 24, 2016, FMCSA sent a response to Barletta, Gibbs and the other congressional signatories explicitly stating the agency had no intention of issuing a final rule until the NRC completes its analysis of the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program and Safety Measurement System in accordance with Section 5221 of the FAST Act.  The agency’s decision to table the rulemaking until the FAST Act provisions are met is a victory for IME.