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  • Henry Seaton

FMCSA chief outlines priorities for rest of 2015

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's priorities for the rest of the year include issuing a final rule on electronic logging devices (ELDs), rolling out the next phase of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program and moving forward with a plan that ultimately could use carriers' safety data to assign safety ratings automatically on a regular basis. Other initiatives outlined in a letter from acting FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling in a letter to agency personnel were implementing improved inspection software and a new carrier registration system.


The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing a draft final rule that would mandate ELDs. FMCSA hasn't outlined specifics of the final rule, but it is expected to follow closely the agency's latest proposed rule, which was published in March 2014.

Safety Fitness Determinations

Also pending at the White House is a draft proposed rule that would increase the use of inspection data in making safety fitness determinations (SFDs) for motor carriers. FMCSA has been promising to implement this rule for the better part of a decade, and it is related to the agency's CSA program. Although details await OMB approval and publication in the Federal Register, Darling says FMCSA is proposing major changes in its process for assessing motor carrier safety performance, focusing on incorporating current roadside inspection and crash data and evaluating carriers based on their own performance.

CSA Phase III FMCSA's blueprint for CSA envisioned a graduated menu of interventions, and the final two intervention types – offsite investigations and cooperative safety plans – have yet to be implemented. In his letter, Darling said FMCSA is lining up the training for federal and state investigators and the industry outreach needed for a successful launch.

In addition, the agency will be implementing a new type of investigation – the crash BASIC investigation – that focuses on identifying trends in carrier crash behaviors, Darling said. And FMCSA will fine-tune the Safety Measurement System (SMS) algorithm to intervene more quickly with carriers identified at being the greatest risk.

A Federal Register notice announcing the preview of the changes will be published in the coming months, Darling said.

Unified Registration System A new system to combine various separate filings into a single online registration form was scheduled to go into effect Oct. 23, but FMCSA has now decided to adopt a phased implementation. "It is important that we get this right," Darling said in the letter. FMCSA plans to publish a notice in the Federal Register in October providing details on the updated implementation timeline.

Inspection modernization FMCSA's latest inspection software program – Aspen 3.0 – integrates many of the functions needed at the roadside, Darling said. Law enforcement personnel can obtain direct access to out-of-service notices. The agency launched a series of training webinars this month that go into great detail on the improvements afforded by Apsen 3.0.

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