FMCSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that establishes new methods for determining a motor carrier’s fitness to operate in interstate and, if transporting hazardous materials, intrastate commerce. While comments are due by March 21, 2016, the proposal has no chance of being finalized during the remainder of the Obama Administration. Congress enacted provisions in the recently passed FAST Act, surface transportation bill that puts hard stops to FMCSA’s ability to quickly finalize this rule. These include obtaining and acting upon recommendations to address long-standing concerns with the CSA program by GAO, NRC, and the Federal Motor Carrier Advisory Committee.
Nevertheless, FMCSA proposes to eliminate the existing three-tier safety rating system (i.e., Satisfactory, Conditional, Unsatisfactory) in favor of a single determination of “Unfit”. Unlike the current safety rating system which is dependent entirely on the FMCSA’s on-site investigations, the proposed safety fitness determinations will be based on roadside inspection data, FMCSA investigations, or a combination of the two.
For a .pdf of the rule, click here.