FMCSA’s proposed compliance sticker rule: Congressman, ATA, others weigh in with ‘adamant opposition’

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Updated Oct 3, 2015

U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), a Congressional trucking advocate in recent years, sent a letter recently to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stating his opposition to June’s proposed rule to require motor carriers operating in interstate commerce to have all vehicles display a compliance decal denoting that all safety standards in effect at the time the vehicle was manufactured were met.

The rule requires the decal to be in place throughout the truck’s life.

Hanna, a member of the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, writes “penalizing CMV operators if their equipment had a missing or unreadable certification label, as proposed, is an unworkable rule that would create a duplicative layer of regulation and fail to reduce the risk of crashes.”

He adds that it’s not conceivable for every CMV to have a certification label.  For instance, in his district, he says, motor carriers often buy used tractors and trailers that may not have the certification labels, or the labels are unreadable.

Hanna also notes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is “already responsible for certifying that newly manufactured CMVs comply with the applicable FMVSS.” He said expanding FMCSA’s role would “unfairly burden CMV operators with responsibility for something that remains an obligation of the manufacturer.”

In his final point, Hanna states the certification label only means the vehicle met regulations when it was manufactured, and it doesn’t have any bearing on how the vehicle operates years or decades after it was purchased.

“With no evidence available that suggests there were any accidents where the lack of a certification label was responsible for the crash, the proposed rule will not reduce the risk of crashes and therefore falls outside the scope of FMCSA’s primary regulatory responsibility.”

Others in the trucking industry have also voiced their opinions on the proposed rulemaking.

The American Trucking Associations said it “adamantly opposes” the rulemaking for several reasons:

  • There’s no safety benefit, but only unnecessary administrative compliance costs
  • Operational efficiencies for drivers, carriers and vehicles will be reduced
  • No certification label is permanent
  • Several CMV manufacturers are no longer in business, so obtaining the label could be impossible
  • The NTSB recommendations for this rule “were a result of a bus crash that the Board attributed to the driver’s failure, not the equipment, let alone the standards to which it was manufactured. The recommendations have nothing to do with trucking operations.”
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The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association said it believes the “FMCSA should withdraw this current proposal and conduct a broader analysis of the procedures, costs and benefits.”

OOIDA adds that “determining a vehicle’s compliance with the FMCSS when it was manufactured (sic) should not be a priority during a roadside inspection, especially since that manufacturing date could have been decades from the present day.”

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said it supports the rulemaking.“This proposed rule will give FMCSA and its state partners clearer regulatory authority to take appropriate enforcement action when non-FMVSS compliant vehicles are identified,” CVSA says.

The Truckload Carriers Association says it supports the principle of the rule, but added it “cannot possible understand how permanently affixing a certification label can aid in achieving” the agency’s goal of reducing crashes.

The United Parcel Service (UPS) said it opposes the rule because “the compliance mechanism is excessively burdensome on the fleet owner; inconsistent with modern trucking operations, particularly our intermodal operations that are fundamental to our efficient delivery network and its reduced carbon footprint; and focused on the wrong actor.”