Citing a Congressional mandate to do so, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing that carriers could voluntarily add technology to their trucks to better their compliance rankings, which according to OOIDA is effectively buying their way out of a bad safety score.
Under the proposal, carriers that put advanced safety equipment on their trucks or beef up their safety program would receive “credits” that could be used to reduce or erase a bad score that resulted from crashes or other safety problems.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes the idea. The Association contends that the proposal amounts to a “pay to play” scheme benefiting only the largest motor carriers.
The agency is seeking input on six specific questions. They are:
- What voluntary technologies or safety program best practices would be appropriate for a Beyond Compliance program?
- What safety performance metrics should be used to evaluate the success of voluntarily implemented technologies or safety program best practices?
- What incentives would encourage motor carriers to invest in technologies and best practices programs?
What events should cause the incentives to be removed?
- Credit on appropriate SMS scores (e.g., credit in driver fitness for use of an employer notification system)?
- Credit on ISS scores? (Editor’s note: ISS, or Inspection Selection System, is the selection scoring system used to determine if a truck receives a random inspection on the roadside.)
- Reduction in roadside inspection frequency?
- Other options?
Should this program be developed by the private sector like PrePass, ISO 9000, or Canada’s Partners in Compliance (PIC)?
How would FMCSA verify that the voluntary technologies or safety programs were being implemented?
- If safety goals for the carrier are not consistently achieved, what is the benefit to the motoring public?
And truckers will have a chance to voice their opinions at two upcoming FMCSA listening sessions – one in Louisville, Ky., on Jan. 12, and the other in Atlanta on Jan. 31.
The Louisville listening session will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Jan. 12, at the Kentucky International Convention Center, Room 108, at 221 Fourth St. The Atlanta listening session will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Georgia World Congress Center, Building C, 285 Andrew Young International Boulevard NW.
Both listening sessions will be webcast live. Details about the webcast and how to participate will be posted to fmcsa.dot.gov before the listening sessions.
Comments will also be accepted on the proposal at regulations.gov.
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