Earlier this year, FMCSA issued an amended notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) designed to enhance the Agency’s ability to identify non-compliant motor carriers when issuing a safety fitness determination (SFD) ruling.

According to FMCSA, the proposed SFD rule would replace the current three-tier federal rating system of “satisfactory-conditional-unsatisfactory” for federally regulated commercial motor carriers, with a single determination of “unfit.”

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This determination would require the carrier to either improve its operations or cease operations. However, a recently published, new analysis of the proposal revealed that a carrier’s fitness to operate could have the same “crash flaw” issues found in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program started in 2011 in determining a carrier’s safety rating.

The Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation (ASECTT) posted an analysis of the CSA rating reforms revealing that the “unfit” determination does not comply with a carrier’s actual performance.

The study showed that 56% of the carriers that FMCSA would have likely deemed “unfit” under the 2011 inspection-based segments of the SFD rules, showed those same carriers that remained in business for a 12-month period, recorded zero crashes during that year.

ASECTT also found that 76% of carriers with five or fewer trucks, and who had been flagged “unfit” to operate, recorded no crashes in the next 12 months.

A coalition of industry stakeholders have issued an extensive commentary calling for FMCSA to consider alternative proposals for a more comprehensive and credible SFD process.

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