Newcomers to trucking could face tougher entry process

| 12/21/2006

Currently, starting up a trucking company already has quite a few different hoops and hurdles. But, a recent "notice of proposed rulemaking" published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration looks to toughen the regs up even more.

FMCSA officials have proposed changes to the New Entrant Safety Assurance Process that - if implemented as a new regulation - would raise the standard of compliance for passing the new entrant safety audit.

The agency has identified 11 regulations that it believes are essential elements of basic safety management necessary to operate in interstate commerce. The agency also proposes that failure to comply with any one of the 11 regulations would result in automatic failure of the audit.

FMCSA proposes that committing any one of the following 11 regulatory violations would result in an automatic failure of the safety audit:

  1. Sec. 382.115(a)/Sec. 382.115(b) - Failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substances testing program (domestic and foreign motor carriers, respectively).
  2. Sec. 382.211 - Using a driver who has refused to submit to an alcohol or controlled substances test required under part 382.
  3. Sec. 382.215 - Using a driver known to have tested positive for a controlled substance.
  4. Sec. 383.37(a) - Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting, or authorizing an employee with a commercial driver's license which is suspended, revoked, or canceled by a state or who is disqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
  5. Sec. 383.51(a) - Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting, or authorizing a driver to drive who is disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
  6. Sec. 387.7(a) - Operating a motor vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility coverage.
  7. Sec. 391.15(a) - Using a disqualified driver.
  8. Sec. 391.11(b)(4) - Using a physically unqualified driver.
  9. Sec. 395.8(a) - Failing to require a driver to make a record of duty status.
  10. Sec. 396.9(c)(2) - Requiring or permitting the operation of a commercial motor vehicle declared "out of service" before repairs are made.
  11. Sec. 396.17(a) - Using a commercial motor vehicle not periodically inspected.

FMCSA decided to publish a "notice of proposed rulemaking" rather than a final rule because the 11 proposed regulation changes would be significantly different from what new entrants currently face.

Comments on the proposed New Entrant Safety Assurance Process will be accepted through Feb. 20, 2007. All comments, which can be submitted anonymously, should indicate the comments being submitted to docket number: FMCSA 2001-11061, unless otherwise noted below.

To comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking:

  • Visit type in just the last part of the docket number, 11061, and follow instructions for submitting comments online;
  • Fax them to: (202) 493-2251 with the full docket number noted; or
  • Mail them, again with the full docket number noted, to:
    Docket Management Facility
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    400 Seventh St. SW
    Nassif Building Room PL-401
    Washington, DC 20590-0001.