Agency has plan for enhanced driver screening

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently proposed a plan for implementing enhanced methodology to identify the riskiest drivers and enforcement to address unsafe driver behavior.

The current transportation appropriations act requires the FMCSA report to Congress on the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Driver Fitness component.

The agency reported this month on identifying goals, current and future activities for the driver program and possible steps to implement a driver Safety Fitness Determination. Implementation of a Driver SFD will be contingent on completion of other agency priorities and having dedicated resources, officials wrote.

During the first year of the nine-year plan, the FMCSA would conduct a driver SFD feasibility study that includes a severity weighting system for violations.

The next year, it would develop driver safety measurement methodology and business processes for identify riskiest drivers and possible interventions. The agency would also determine requirements for the information technology needed and would design supporting systems. Also that year, it would initiate analyses to consider the number of drivers who would likely be rated unfit and estimate potential safety benefits of the change.

During years three through five, FMCSA would test the new Driver SFD methodology and business processes and refine them based on test results and stakeholder feedback.

FMCSA would complete a notice-and-comment rulemaking to establish the Driver SFD methodology, enforcement and due process in the sixth year. It also would issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking during this period because the changes would be considered significant.

Agency officials would evaluate NPRM comments before issuing a Final Rule and final regulatory impact analyses during the seventh year. The FR compliance date would likely be no more than two years after publication of the rule. The FMCSA would also complete IT Functional Requirements Documents for a Driver SFD.

FMCSA would finish final steps for implementing a Driver SFD program in the eighth year, which includes training governmental officials and providing educational materials to the public.

During the ninth year, the agency would fully implement the Driver SFD program.