ANALYSIS OF SAFETY FITNESS SHOWS “UNFIT” CATEGORY MAY BE FLAWED

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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