The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will launch its effort to require prospective new motor carriers, freight forwarders and brokers to establish their knowledge of regulations and industry practices by listening to views on the issue. The agency announced on Dec. 26 that it has scheduled an all-day listening session in Nashville, TN, on Jan. 13, 2014, in conjunction with the American Bus Assn.’s Marketplace conference. The day’s proceedings will be webcast.

The MAP-21 legislation enacted in June 2012 requires FMCSA to assess the knowledge of proposed new entrants. FMCSA said the listening session is the first in a series it will hold to gather input on potential test topics, the relationship between the knowledge testing requirement and the agency’s Unified Registration System (URS) program and test development and delivery.

FMCSA asked that participants in the listening session consider the following questions in preparing their comments:

  • Should the exam be limited to the applicable FMCSA regulations or include both the regulations and industry best practices?
  • If the exam covers industry best practices, what specific best practices should be included on the exam?
  • What industry best practices manuals/publications are available for new entrants to study prior to taking a proficiency exam?
  • Are private-sector training courses available to teach new entrants industry best practices?
  • Should FMCSA limit the exam to company officers or employees responsible for safety and compliance, or should the agency allow safety consultants to complete the exam on behalf of the new entrant? Should the test results be linked to specific individuals identified on the registration application with a requirement that the new entrant entity have a “certified” individual who passed the exam in a position responsible for safety and compliance? And should the new entrant be required to update their registration information whenever these individuals are replaced/reassigned during the new entrant monitoring/oversight period?
  • Given that MAP-21 requires freight forwarders and brokers to renew their registration authority every five years, should the new entrant testing rule require a new test (i.e., recertification test) to accompany the freight forwarder or broker renewal application?
  • Should the FMCSA develop and deliver the test directly to the new entrant applicants, or should the agency rely on a private sector entity to handle the testing, with the results being transmitted directly to FMCSA?
  • Do private sector companies or organizations currently conduct testing concerning industry best practices?
  • Should the testing be conducted at testing centers, or should FMCSA allow online testing?

The listening session is open to the public, and FMCSA asked that speakers try to limit their remarks to five minutes. No pre-registration is required.