U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 18, 1999
Contact: David Longo
Tel: (202) 366-0456
Key Safety Rule For
provisions that give U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) tough enforcement power to improve safety, the FHWA today
proposed a major change to the safety fitness procedures of the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations.
The proposed rule would
prohibit all motor carriers found to be unfit from operating commercial motor
vehicles in interstate commerce. It would implement new powers provided for by
the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which President
Clinton signed into law in June 1998.
"This bold action
will help achieve our goal of reducing commercial vehicle-related deaths by half
in the next 10 years," U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater said.
"The impact of TEA-21 on commercial vehicle safety underscores this
Administration=s determination and commitment to provide all Americans a safe
and efficient transportation system."
The FHWA is proposing to
safety rating as an unfit determination. An
unsatisfactory rating would mean that a motor carrier does not have adequate
safety controls in place. The rating would result from a compliance review
during which federal regulatory violations are discovered and on-the-road
performance factors are examined.
"This change would
provide FHWA a significant enforcement tool with which to improve motor carrier
performance and shut down unsafe operators," said Federal Highway
Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle.
Key features of the
- Motor carriers would
have 60 days after the FHWA makes a determination of unfitness to improve
operations or face shutdown. The agency may extend the compliance period
another 60 days only if the motor carrier is making a good faith effort to
improve its safety fitness.
- Passenger and hazardous
material (HM) motor carriers would continue to have 45 days to correct
- The proposed regulation
be applied retroactively. It would apply only to motor
carriers rated unsatisfactory after the effective date of a final rule.
- Carriers holding an
unsatisfactory rating at the time the rule becomes effective are not subject
to immediate shutdown. However, if after a follow up visit the carrier still
is determined to be unfit by a safety investigator, the new provisions would
- The FHWA intends to
carefully track the safety of operations of motor carriers currently holding
unsatisfactory safety ratings to ensure that the safety of the traveling
public is not exposed to increased risk from a motor carrier's operation.
- Under the provisions of
TEA-21, federal agencies would be prohibited from using any motor carrier
rated "unsatisfactory" on or after the effective date of a final
rule to provide interstate transportation.
The proposed rule was in
the Aug. 16, 1999 Federal Register. Comments on the proposal must be submitted
in writing by Sept. 15, 1999 to Docket Number FHWA-99-5467, Docket Clerk, U.S.
DOT Dockets, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.
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