The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has held a series of forums with trucking industry stakeholders to evaluate the agency’s current safety compliance and enforcement programs.
FMCSA said the outcome of the agency-sponsored meetings will serve to establish an operational model to audit carriers’ safety, which would ultimately contribute to its goal of reducing truck-related fatalities to no more than 1.65 per 100 million truck miles.
In the forums, trucking companies, insurance companies, trucking-related associations, and law enforcement officials—among the most active participants—emphasized issues such as safety incentives, consistent motor carrier regulations across states and carrier types, uniform screening for safe drivers, compliance reviews, and quality SafeStat data.
Participants commented that carriers are not adequately regulated, in part because of differences in treatment between intrastate and interstate carriers, hazmat and non-hazmat, as well as large vs. small fleets. Many advocated uniform regulations across all carriers.
Additionally, there was concern expressed that accident reporting has been inconsistent on a state-by-state basis. There was a consensus on the need for safety data that is standardized, consolidated, accurate and timely. That said, SafeStat has much room for improvement, stakeholders said.
Third parties, such as medical professionals, examiners, commercial driving schools, certifiers and insurers, were noted also for inconsistent performance by some. A pool of quality drivers was considered to be critical for safety, and many recommended more consistent methods for screening, hiring and certifying drivers.
FMCSA noted that there was “dissonance” on the effectiveness of Compliance Reviews, as some believed the agency needs to educate carriers on how to be safer while staying profitable. “Participants were in agreement the CR is too often reactive and punitive,” noted FMCSA.
FMCSA has compiled the comments from the forums into a report, titled “Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 Listening Sessions” (CSA 2010).