At a global traffic safety seminar hosted by the Swedish embassy in Washington, DC, last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) laid out its ambitious regulatory agenda for the remainder of 2007.
“We're trying to take a much more comprehensive approach to improving safety in the trucking industry now,” said Larry Minor, director of the office of bus and truck standards and operations at FMCSA. “We're taking a fresh look at ways we can look at more companies and aspects of trucking to improve safety.”
The agency plans to bring several notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to the table, including the following:
Allowing the revocation of operating authority based on safety violations.
Taking direct enforcement action against trucking company officials who knowingly engage in and/or cover up safety violations.
Creating a national registry of certified medical examiners to improve truck driver medical reviews.
Establishing a national uniform set of CDL learner's permit standards.
“We want to be able to revoke a trucking company's operating authority on safety violations alone,” Minor stressed. “Now, we can only do that if they don't carry enough insurance, pay their fees, etc.”
“We also want to be able to take action against company officers and managers if they are involved in safety violations,” he said. “That includes prohibiting them from ever working in the trucking industry again.
Driver health and wellness will remain a big focus for FMCSA. “The medical qualifications that govern truck drivers are outdated and there's a lack of standards in significant areas,” Minor stated. “Right now, we have limited information linking driver medical health with crash causation data, but that's an area we'll be working on in the future.”
Minor said the agency is also looking to expand the Ticketing Aggressive Cars & Trucks (TACT) pilot program that began three years ago. “We think focusing our enforcement efforts on the aggressive drivers of both cars and trucks will pay off big time in terms of highway safety improvements,” he added.