BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
FEBRUARY 13, 2002
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH M. CLAPP, ADMINISTRATOR
FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
Good morning, Chairman Rogers and Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you
for the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee on behalf of the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). I am pleased to report on some of FMCSA's
key activities and our plans for continual progress. Despite an increase in overall
highway fatalities, fatalities in crashes involving large trucks have declined in each of the
last 2 years. We hope our efforts and those of our safety partners in the States and other
Federal agencies will continue to help extend this positive trend.
FMCSA has placed a strong emphasis on deploying its resources on the front line.
Today, over 90 percent of our workforce is involved in direct program delivery activities.
Direct lines of authority facilitate expedited decision-making and enhanced
accountability in the field. We believe this mode of operation helps us deliver results,
and it has provided a real advantage in recent efforts to improve transportation security.
This Subcommittee's support has been an important factor in FMCSA's actions to
reduce the vulnerability of hazardous materials transportation to terrorist activities. In
response to the terrorist atrocities of September 11 and subsequent threats to our
transportation system, FMCSA initiated a program to conduct onsite visits to motor
carriers to discuss security measures. Our objectives were to increase the level of
awareness of motor carriers to terrorist threats, identify potential weaknesses in carrier
security programs, and to report potentially serious security issues to appropriate
Originally, FMCSA planned to visit 32,000 carriers identified in our database as
transporting hazardous materials, but our list expanded to 38,800 entities, including
companies identified through roadside inspections, driver training schools, leasing
companies, high risk facilities, shippers, and other operations that could potentially be at
risk. In the past 4 months, we have completed well over 36,000 contacts, and the
remainder of our contacts will be completed very soon. These contacts have resulted in
126 referrals to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. False names or false personnel
information, suspicious inquiries or inappropriate comments, unexplained
disappearances, and citizenship irregularities are among the activities that provide a basis
It should be stressed that throughout this effort, FMCSA is receiving
overwhelmingly positive support and cooperation from the industry. During its Security
Sensitivity Visits (SSVs), FMCSA has seen many examples of voluntary initiatives to
reduce security vulnerabilities. Most major chemical transporters have implemented
company security identification systems, and petroleum companies are evaluating
national electronic access cards for entry to loading facilities. Transportation security
guidelines were developed by the American Chemistry Council in conjunction with the
Chlorine Institute and the National Association of Chemical Distributors.
FMCSA's SSVs are only one component of our efforts to reduce the vulnerability
of hazardous materials transportation. In the future, compliance reviews of hazardous
materials carriers will be expanded to include a security component. Each year,
approximately 3,000 compliance reviews are conducted on hazardous materials carriers.
We are also developing a program for periodic visits to carriers transporting certain types
of explosives, radioactive materials, and highly toxic substances. These visits will be
more in-depth and include an on-site inspection of facilities and a written report with
The law enforcement community is an important partner in our effort to enhance
transportation security. FMCSA has developed outreach material and a training course to
raise the awareness of law enforcement officers to the potential threat that commercial
vehicles can pose if they are used as a weapon. In conjunction with the Commercial
Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police
(IACP), the Maryland State Police, and the Virginia State Police, FMCSA developed a
Security Awareness for Enforcement Checklist. The IACP will be distributing 500,000
of these checklists to law enforcement officers across the country in the next two months.
FMCSA also is offering a free 8-hour training course, "Trucks & Terrorism," to law
In another outreach effort, the Teamsters, CVSA, IACP, and the Maryland State
Police are working with FMCSA to inform truck drivers about measures they can take to
protect themselves from potential terrorist hijackers.
Implementation of the requirements of Section 1012 of the USA PATRIOT Act
are an important part of our overall effort to enhance security. Coordinating with the
U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, FMCSA is developing
procedures for performing a security risk review process for all persons seeking issuance,
renewal, upgrade, or transfer of a hazardous materials endorsement for a commercial
driver's license (CDL). In accordance with the Act, States will submit requests for a
background records investigation to the Department of Justice before licensing an
individual to haul hazardous materials. Based on the results of the background records
check, the Department of Transportation will make a security risk determination and
notify the requesting State of the result. FMCSA expects to issue an interim final rule to
implement this process very shortly.
We are also considering whether additional security measures should be required
through rulemaking. FMCSA will be working closely with the Research and Special
Programs Administration and the Transportation Security Administration on any security
Just as technology has great potential for enhancing motor carrier safety, it holds
promise for increasing security. FMCSA will conduct operational tests to examine the
potential effectiveness of several technologies, including systems for preventing
unauthorized drivers from operating a vehicle, for detecting a vehicle that is off route, for
remote engine shut-off, as well as systems to allow law enforcement, shippers, and
consignees to make positive identification of truck drivers. These tests will be conducted
in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and the DOT Joint Program
Office for Intelligent Transportation Systems.
Physical attacks on drivers of over-the-road motorcoaches in recent months have
demonstrated the vulnerability of the commercial passenger carrier industry to acts of
violence. Today, passengers travel without requirements for identification, and baggage
is not routinely screened. Yet motorcoaches travel in close proximity to some of the
Nation's most visible and populated sites, such as sporting events and tourist attractions.
FMCSA is working with charter and scheduled motorcoach operators to identify
additional measures such as training, enhanced communications, passenger identification
procedures, and security equipment and technologies to reduce the vulnerability of this
vital transportation industry, which carries the highest volume of passengers of any mode.
The Department is well underway in implementing actions in anticipation of
lifting the moratorium on cross border trucking. Rulemakings establishing the
application process and a strict safety monitoring system for Mexican motor carriers
should be issued shortly. These rulemakings set forth the requirements for Mexican
motor carriers to apply for authority, provide safety certifications, undergo safety and
compliance reviews, and subject their vehicles and drivers to periodic inspections.
Carriers applying for provisional authority will undergo a safety audit to review
their safety systems for compliance and knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations. After Mexican carriers receive provisional authority, their safety
performance will be monitored through roadside inspections of vehicles and drivers. In
addition, all performance data related to the carrier will be captured in FMCSA's safety
information database. During the 18-month period of provisional authority, a compliance
review must result in a satisfactory rating before the carrier can receive permanent
With funds provided by the FY 2002 transportation appropriations legislation,
FMCSA is hiring an additional 214 safety enforcement staff to inspect vehicles and
drivers and perform these safety audits and compliance reviews on Mexican carriers.
This will bring our total complement of border enforcement staff to 274. All staff will be
located in the four border States at border crossing areas. Funding is also provided in
2002 to potentially double State enforcement personnel at the border.
States are using funding provided by the FY 2002 appropriations legislation to
hire, train, and equip additional border inspectors and enhance their inspection
infrastructure at border locations. Federal funding for State inspection facilities has been
$15.1 million through 2001. The additional $66 million being provided in 2002 and an
additional $47 million requested for 2003 will significantly aid the border States in
establishing permanent inspection facilities. In addition, $2.3 million is provided in FY
2002 for immediate federal facilities construction at the border.
A total of $116 million is requested in the FY 2003 budget for southern border
safety activities. This includes $61 million to maintain the FY 2002 safety enforcement
program levels. Of this amount, $43 million will support 274 enforcement personnel in
conducting both inspections of vehicles at the border and compliance reviews of carriers
in Mexico, and $18 million in grants will be provided to maintain State inspection
operations. In addition, $8 million in grants is requested from the Motor Carrier Safety
Assistance Program (MCSAP) to support State enforcement personnel at the border.
Under the Federal Highway Administration's borders and corridors program, $47 million
is requested to fund State inspection facilities construction.
With the combination of resources provided to the Department to conduct a
thorough advance safety review process as well as enhanced Federal and State safety
monitoring systems, the Department is confident that the safety of Mexican motor
carriers will be on par with their U.S. and Canadian counterparts.
While FMCSA has placed a special emphasis on increased security and border
safety programs, critical safety enforcement activities have continued, including issuance
of out-of-service orders, conducting compliance reviews, and complaint investigation.
Enforcement targeted at carriers exhibiting poor safety performance will continue to be a
major focus for FMCSA. With funds provided by the 2002 appropriations legislation,
FMCSA is initiating a pilot program to conduct follow-up compliance reviews on carriers
receiving "conditional" safety ratings in recent compliance reviews. Our 2003 request
includes funds to continue this effort.
FMCSA's National Motor Carrier Safety Program supports a robust program of
State enforcement and safety activities. In FY 2003, the President's budget proposes a
level of $165 million in grants to States to increase the number of State compliance
reviews, identify and apprehend traffic law violators, increase the volume of roadside
inspections, improve CDL oversight activities, and support State border enforcement
efforts. In addition $20 million is requested for the Information Systems and Strategic
Safety Initiatives Program. This program's implementation is shared by FMCSA and the
States and supports vital motor carrier safety information systems and data analysis
activities, including SafeStat and the innovative Performance and Registration
Information Systems Management (PRISM). PRISM continues to gain ground. Twenty
States are now receiving funds to implement PRISM, up from five States in 1998. Five
additional States have submitted a letter of intent to implement the program. PRISM
links State registration with carrier safety data, assigns the safety responsibility for each
vehicle being registered to the appropriate motor carrier, identifies high risk carriers,
actively monitors safety progress, and improves enforcement by providing sanctions.
Five million dollars is requested to continue the comprehensive study on
commercial vehicle crash causation initiated in 2001. The study will identify data
requirements and collection procedures, reports, and other measures that will improve
both FMCSA's and the States' ability to evaluate future crashes involving commercial
motor vehicles; monitor crash trends and identify causes and contributing factors; and
develop effective safety improvement policies and programs.
Completion of rulemakings is a priority for our agency. Rulemaking is a critical
element in the performance agreement of all of FMCSA's highest officials and those
working directly on regulations. The USA PATRIOT Act and Mexican carrier rules have
been at the top of our agenda. Three Mexican motor carrier rules, the certification of
safety auditors rule, and the rule for certification of compliance with Federal Motor
Vehicle Safety Standards are currently under final Administration review. FMCSA is
completing the New Entrant rule, which extends the safety review process to new U.S.
motor carriers, and the Uniform Carrier Register, a rule to streamline and update the
registration process for carriers. Rules for household goods carriers and camionetas are
close to completion as well.
FMCSA continues its work on the important hours-of-service rule. An
evaluation of costs and benefits is now underway. We have completed our review of the
more than 58,000 comments we received, and our contractor has begun the necessary
regulatory evaluation of various options consistent with the analysis and comment. Our
FY 2003 regulatory program will also address the roadability of intermodal chassis used
in transporting goods. We will also continue our efforts to develop and expand a
performance-based medical qualification program for drivers. In order to properly
develop and implement these and other regulatory initiatives, FMCSA will need
resources to convene stakeholders, regulated parties, safety groups, and others to gather
information necessary to develop workable, effective regulations.
We will soon be issuing final rules to implement changes in the Commercial
Driver Licensing program. Seeing that these rules are effectively carried out and that
greater progress is made in improving CDL information exchange will be a major
objective for our agency in the year ahead. Improved CDL data exchange and working
with States to eliminate practices that make systems vulnerable to fraud yield benefits for
both commercial vehicle safety and security. I am committed to finding ways to ensure
carriers have the accurate, complete information they need to hire qualified, safe drivers.
Growth in FMCSA's research and technology (R&T) program is critical to future
fatality reductions in crashes involving commercial motor vehicles. Recognizing that
highway crashes often stem from a number of interrelated factors and not just a single
cause, FMCSA has created a comprehensive and dynamic motor carrier R&T program to
support its safety goals. This program supports the diverse operational safety initiatives
of the agency as well as new ways to deliver safety, such as the development, evaluation,
and deployment of advanced safety technologies. The program addresses all the major
crash factors within the purview of the FMCSA, including drivers, vehicles, carriers, new
technologies, and cross-cutting initiatives.
These initiatives include the deployment of intelligent vehicle crash avoidance
technologies, such as collision avoidance, rollover prevention, and lane departure
warning systems. Preliminary estimates show that the effectiveness of these safety
technologies ranges from 42 to 75 percent.
Because driver-related factors are the major contributors to fatal crashes involving
large trucks, educating all motorists about safely sharing the Nation's highways is an
important focus for FMCSA. "Share the Road Safely" is a cooperative effort conducted
through a broad coalition of governmental, safety, labor, and industry organizations to
educate drivers of all types of vehiclespassenger cars, sport utility vehicles, vans,
motorcycles, large trucks, buses, and recreational vehiclesabout safe driving habits.
Highway Watch is a successful safety program with the American Trucking Associations
that engages commercial motor vehicle drivers to act as eyes and ears for law
enforcement on the road. Drivers are trained to report unsafe driving behavior and
related safety problems to the police. This program is now being expanded to include
alerts for potential security problems as well. Safety is Good Business is a safety
education program to encourage the use of best safety practices by small motor carriers,
which represent approximately 90 percent of the industry. This program highlights the
direct and indirect costs of crashes and promotes the use of regulatory and operational
countermeasures to reduce crashes.
In FY 2002, FMCSA will implement the national rollout of a safety outreach
initiative to improve the transportation of students to and from events away from their
school. FMCSA will promote the adoption of best safety practices in selecting private
bus companies for student transportation to school events, field trips, and other activities
that require travel by bus.
At FMCSA, I will be looking for ways to encourage continuous improvement in
our programs and their delivery. One way to do this is to tap the potential of E-
Government technologies. By the beginning of Fiscal Year 2002, FMCSA was
conducting 70 percent of its business through on-line transactions. One area in which
FMCSA has dramatically improved customer service is in the Department's "Do-it-
Yourself" website. This service allows trucking companies and independent drivers to
pay for their operating certificates, insurance, and fines with a credit card over the
internet. The process for registering motor carriers has now gone from fours weeks to 20
I look forward to working with the Subcommittee and its leadership as we seek
other ways to make continuous improvement at FMCSA. I would be happy to answer
any questions you may have.