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Trucking groups: New carrier scoring rule violates FAST Act highway law provisions

The removal of CSA's SMS percentile rankings from public view presents one of three major problems with the agency's pursuit of a Safety Fitness Determination rule, trucking groups argue, as safety determinations were supposed to be at least in part based on the SMS' BASICs, per FMCSA's summary of the rule.

The removal of CSA’s SMS percentile rankings from public view presents one of three major problems with the agency’s pursuit of a Safety Fitness Determination rule, trucking groups argue, as safety determinations were supposed to be at least in part based on the SMS’ BASICs, per FMCSA’s summary of the rule.

A group of trucking industry stakeholders has issued a challenge to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking, publication of which is expected this month.

The coalition, which includes the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, the Western State Trucking Association, ASECTT and five others, on Tuesday sent a letter to members of Congress and, according to sources, FMCSA Administrator-elect Scott Darling, asking them to reconsider the rule given provisions of the December-enacted FAST Act highway funding law.

FAST Act highway bill signed by President Obama, FMCSA takes down CSA scores

As required by the law, the agency pulled the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Safety Measurement System and its BASIC categories of carrier safety analysis and evaluation ...

Pursuit of the rule, according to the letter, disregards key components of the FAST Act’s trucking regulatory reform, including sections that stipulate FMCSA (1) publish either an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking or use the negotiated rulemaking process prior to publishing a major rule, (2) perform a “regulatory impact analysis” on rules and their potentially varying impacts on different industry segments, such as small carriers and (3) remove CSA percentile rankings from public view.

Publication of a Safety Fitness Determination rule, the groups argue, would fail to consider the results of the highway bill’s required review and revamp of the CSA program.

For evidence related to the last point, the coalition cites the agency’s own summary of the SFD rule, which notes the safety rating would rely on “on-road safety performance in relation to five of the Agency’s seven Behavioral Analysis and Safety improvement Categories (BASICs)” in the SMS.

Carrier scoring Safety Fitness Determination rule ready for publication following OMB clearance

Carrier scoring Safety Fitness Determination rule ready for publication following OMB clearance

A proposed federal rule that would give the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration another means to score and target unsafe carriers has cleared the White ...

You can read the full letter at this link.

A request for comment has been filed with FMCSA and will be added when it becomes available.

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Todd Dills is Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine and writes from Nashville, Tenn. He frequently covers business, regulatory and lifestyle topics for the magazine and at OverdriveOnline.com. His work on the “CSA’s Data Trail” series in Overdrive about the federal CSA program was awarded the highest honor in trade journalism – the “Grand Neal” – by American Business Media at the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards. Dills’ Channel 19 blog covers a grab bag of on-highway hearsay, owner-operator news and driver views from the roadways the nation over. His work in trucking journalism builds on a background of news feature, fiction and other creative writing and editing. Find him here at the Channel 19 blog and via his Twitter feed, or send tips to tdills@randallreilly.com or via phone at 205-907-2481.