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Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Estimates

I am proud to present the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) FY 2015 Budget Request of $668.523 million. This budget request supports the replacement for the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) authorization and aligns with the Agency’s 2012-2016 Strategic Plan and the United States Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Strategic Framework and Roadway Safety Plan (RSP). Within that framework, FMCSA’s safety programs comprise 94% or $633.0 million of the overall budget request, with more than half of the funds requested to support grants to our State partners. Our mission is clear. We are committed to saving lives by reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicle (CMV) transportation. I, along with all of FMCSA’s employees, seek to achieve that mission and the purposes set forth in our authorizing legislation.

Since the inception of FMCSA in 2000, we have witnessed a 33.7% drop in the fatality rate from 0.205 fatalities in large truck and bus crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled by all motor vehicles to 0.136 in 2011. Fatalities in large truck and bus crashes dropped 28.5%, from 5,620 in 2000 to 4,018 in 2011, a reduction of 1,602. The successes we have realized in reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities are great, but there is more to be done. Every life is precious, and even one fatality is one too many.

Safety has always been and will continue to be our highest priority; therefore, we are increasing our focus and determination through a new strategic framework. That framework shapes our efforts into four Strategic Focus Areas: CMV “Safety 1st” Culture, Exponential Safety Power 2 (SafetyX Power), Comprehensive Data Utilization and Leveraging Technology, and One FMCSA. It employs three core principles: raise the bar to enter the motor carrier industry; maintain high safety standards to remain in the industry; and remove high-risk carriers, drivers, and service providers from operation. This budget requests additional resources needed to support our strategic framework, maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of our safety programs, and fully implement the statutory requirements in MAP-21.

We will continue to strengthen our partnerships with Federal, State, local, tribal, and foreign governments; reach out to all stakeholders–our citizens, the industry and related associations, drivers, victims and advocacy groups; and collaborate effectively with other DOT safety agencies. Further, FMCSA is partnering with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to leverage and pool our resources to enhance roadway safety based on the premise that the loss of even one life on our roadways is unacceptable. Working together, we hope to eliminate crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving CMVs. Together we will “Raise the safety bar!”

Reauthorization

The President’s Budget for FY 2015 is the first year of a new authorization for surface transportation programs. Our priority for the new authorization is refining and properly resourcing programs and authorities received in MAP-21. The most significant change the Agency has proposed is a simplification of its grant programs, consolidating the New Entrant, Border Enforcement (BEG), Performance and Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM) and Safety Data Improvement (SaDIP) grant programs into the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Basic and Incentive programs. These changes will reduce the administrative burden on our partner agencies while allowing us to continue accomplishing the objectives of the formerly individual programs. We also propose to alter the existing Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) program into the Innovative Technology Deployment (ITD) program. Our partner training program, funded through an administrative takedown, will double the amount of funding available for the training of non-Federal staff that have responsibilities associated with the MCSAP program. The additional funds requested for our operations will help us meet program timelines established under MAP-21.

Given the recent number of motorcoach crashes, the FMCSA is proposing to expand locations where motorcoach inspections may occur, to include en route inspections at routine stops, provided that the site has adequate facilities to accommodate passengers. FMCSA also seeks new jurisdiction over brokers of passenger transportation, to help address the problem of transportation entities skirting safety regulation by claiming to be mere ticket agents. Both the en route inspection and passenger broker authorities will create new demands for enforcement resources.

Safe Transportation of Energy Products Fund

The Department of Transportation is requesting the creation of a new fund to support the multimodal prevention and response activities associated with the increased safety issues currently surrounding the transport of crude oil. The funds would be available for initiatives within the Federal Railroad Administration, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety 3 Administration, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Administrators of those Operating Administrations along with representatives of designated offices within the Office of the Secretary would jointly serve as a decision-making board for the use of the funds and would be responsible for their effective administration.

CMV “Safety 1st” Culture

Although our roadways are getting safer, FMCSA’s focus on operator safety has never been sharper. FMCSA is dedicated to working with our state partners to aggressively pursue safety initiatives in areas like fatigue management and seat belt use to decrease the number of crashes and fatalities involving large trucks and buses on our nation’s roadways. Taken together, our safety programs and oversight activities will refine and strengthen this mission.

Raising the Bar to Entry

We are working to improve our registration process to focus on the application screening process that will include a rejection of incomplete applications and system enhancements to catch data inconsistencies and to expand the use of an automated vetting process for all new applicants. Further carriers will have to file an annual application to update their information.

Based on two program evaluations being completed in FY 2014, we will enhance the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program (NESAP) through development of new streamlined procedures and piloting a new approach for performing Safety Audits (SAs) that more closely ties our NESAP activities to our CSA enforcement model. In FY 2015, FMCSA and its State partners will complete more than 35,000 SAs and dramatically reducing our backlog of overdue carriers.

Maintaining Safety Standards

We are working to identify gaps in resources and/or authorities that prevent us from reaching certain elements of the CMV transportation life-cycle (e.g. shippers, receivers, brokers, and freight forwarders) that may have a detrimental impact on safety through their actions.

Additionally, we have extended the SaferBus App to the Android operating environment to better reach consumers to provide them with access to as much timely information as we can to help them make sound decisions on the relative safety performance of passenger carriers.

We will continue the Motorcoach Safety Initiative focusing on three main areas: targeted safety interventions (Quick Strike and Safety Assessments), stakeholder engagement and outreach, and regulatory and program evaluation. It has now been five years since the Department, (FMCSA, FHWA, NHTSA, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and the Office of the Secretary) produced its first Motorcoach Safety Action Plan which we recently updated. Drivers, company owners, safety managers, tour group organizers, safety advocates, and educators helped shape the 2012 Update by identifying actions necessary to increase motorcoach safety awareness, enforcement, and education. FMCSA continues to expand its efforts for motorcoach safety and find ways to ensure that passenger carrier travel is safe. FMCSA is also committed to ensuring 4 accessible services, as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are adhered to and implemented. Resources requested in this budget are crucial to the routinization of these inspections.

The goal of the targeted safety interventions is to complete Enhanced Investigative Techniques training for all FMCSA’s Special Agents. The training is focused on the unique nature of motorcoach operations but includes methods for applying the techniques to all types of motor carriers.

The training will be utilized by our Special Agents to address the requirement of MAP-21 to complete safety ratings of all motorcoach carriers within a 3 year time period.

There will be continued effort related to stakeholder engagement and consumer outreach. Meetings and presentations to stakeholders will be scheduled to reinforce our message that consumers demand safety; choosing safety over price to build awareness that safety is everyone’s business. Compelling messages and public information materials will be targeted to consumers along with leveraging victim advocates to humanize the importance of our safety-first message. We will also promote “whistleblowing” by encouraging the submission of passenger carrier safety concerns to the National Consumer Complaint Database. We will improve consumer appeal by completing the review and upgrade of FMCSA’s webpage.

In FY 2015, the results of earlier data gathering through the Quick Strike investigations and Safety Assessments will be used to further the top-to-bottom analysis of the passenger carrier oversight system to strengthen its authority and practices. We expect to complete a gap analysis to identify the most effective intervention strategies to raise the passenger carrier safety standard. The analysis will examine past levels of interventions and enforcement of motorcoach carriers and compare them to the Quick Strike and Safety Assessment results. We will assess personnel and equipment use, training, travel costs, intervention results to evaluate the level of safety achieved. The goal of the gap analysis is to achieve an optimal level of compliance and enforcement that assures one level of safety for all motorcoach passengers.

The Agency anticipates full implementation of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners rule and will continue to add Medical Examiners to the roster of certified medical examiners after the May 2014 compliance date. We will continue to reach out to health care practitioners, encouraging them to enroll, train and take the test to allow them to perform medical examinations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. FMCSA wants to ensure that the National Registry lists a sufficient number of medical examiners, geographically dispersed throughout the US, particularly in rural and underserved communities, to meet the need of the driver population. In addition, we will begin the performance monitoring of the Certified Medical Examiners, ensuring that they are conducting the medical examinations in accordance with FMCSA regulations and advisory criteria. We have developed a random sampling methodology and will monitor a representative number of Medical Examinations conducted during the year.

In addition to our activity with the Medical Examiners, FMCSA expects to publish the new rule, Medical Examiners’ Certification Integration. This rule enables transfer of the driver medical 5 certificate information from the medical examiner through the National Registry system to the State Driver Licensing Agencies. We will work with our state partners to develop the business requirements and the best method for data transfer.

The Protect Your Move Website is an interactive tool/resource for consumers who are seeking to move their household goods (HHG). The website contains Consumer Protection Advisories to include the Moving Fraud Prevention Checklist, FMCSA Spotlight, and a Red Flag Warning Campaign. It features Public Service Announcements, and it provides links for consumers to do research and file complaints. These advisories are geared towards educating the consumer by providing steps the consumer should take to avoid being a victim of moving fraud. The advisories are translated into nine languages to ensure the broadest dissemination of information.

The FMCSA has partnered with State counterparts to allow access to specific tools within the website to assist in HHG investigations. The website has a section of important resources where the consumer may check the CSA score, registration status and complaint history of a carrier in advance of their relocation. There are links on the Website to State regulatory agencies to assist with consumers who have questions regarding local or intrastate moves.

The FMCSA plans to continue the enhancements on the FMCSA Protect Your Move Website by accessing real-time data to more accurately reflect the motor carrier’s status in regards to its safety and compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety and Commercial regulations. This information will give the consumer the added confidence of knowing the current compliance posture of a potential mover.

The FMCSA is encouraging additional partnerships with Federal and State enforcement agencies and anticipate placing links to those agencies upon FMCSA’s Protect Your Move Website. The ability to partner with other Federal and State agencies offers the consumer protection community the additional force multipliers to further combat consumer fraud.

The FMCSA has formal agreements with Louisiana, Texas, and Ohio. There are four states in negotiations to become partners in the near future.

Removing High Risk Carriers and Drivers and Service Providers

The Agency continues to work to improve its carrier target selection tool, the Safety Measurement System (SMS). The Agency has continued to make changes based on new research and analysis to improve our ability to identify high-risk carriers for investigation. Motor carriers identified as high-risk by the SMS have future crash rates more than double the crash rate of all active motor carriers. Clearly we are targeting the right carriers, but we will continue to work to improve.

Recent improvements to the SMS show that motor carriers with at least one Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) above FMCSA’s Safety Intervention Threshold have a crash rate that is 3.9% higher than before we made these improvements. We will continue refining this approach to guide more effective interventions. Utilizing performance and compliance data, we target the highest risk carriers, and when non-compliance is discovered, we maximize the use of our enforcement authorities, including new authorities provided in MAP-21. 6

FMCSA enforcement efforts have reached unprecedented levels in recent years, and we are continuing to find new and innovative methods to improve safety. The SMS is having an impact on safety and compliance. In its first year of implementation, violations per roadside inspection were down 8% and driver violations per inspection were down 10% from the prior year — the most dramatic drop in safety violations in a decade.

In FY 2011, the Agency used its Imminent Hazard Out-of- Service Authority to remove unsafe carriers 10 times. In FY 2012 that increased to 47. During FY 2013, 36 carriers were ordered off the road. FMCSA’s intensive “Quick Strike” passenger carrier safety initiative has led to the issuance of 14 Imminent Hazard Out-of-Service orders over five months. FMCSA will continue to be vigilant to ensure that only safe and compliant carriers are operating on our nation’s roadways. These efforts will continue with our increased focus on passenger carriers.

Exponential Safety Power (“Safetyx” Power)

A key component of FMCSA’s plan to achieve its safety goal is its collaborative partnerships with State and local law enforcement agencies, non-profit organizations, and universities. This partnership is created by the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grant programs. Through its safety assistance program grants, FMCSA supports State enforcement of safety regulations for both domestic and international commerce through roadside inspections, traffic enforcement, carrier interventions, and a robust data collection system that, in turn, provides the information that FMCSA needs to identify problem areas and direct priorities.

These grant programs also support the review of motor carriers that are new to the industry to ensure that they meet the high standards necessary to operate safely. Other grant programs encourage States to use technology that can improve enforcement activities through weigh-inmotion scales, infrared examination of brakes, validation of operating authority and status, and electronic inspection screening and prioritization, State agencies are changing the way that they select trucks for inspection and maximizing efficiency of their limited resources at roadside. Finally, the driver-focused grants enable State driver licensing agencies to ensure that only qualified individuals obtain a commercial driver’s license and that those who should no longer hold a license are removed from the roadways. Grant funds support efforts to improve and make uniform testing practices around the country, detect and prevent fraud in the licensing process, and improve data sharing between States. The grant funds also support the training of potential truck drivers, including assisting service members and their spouses’ transition from a military career to a safe and productive civilian carrier in commercial motor vehicle operations. \

Increasing the funding for these enforcement grant programs will help FMCSA fully implement CSA by providing more State resources to conduct carrier interventions and safety inspections necessary to evaluate carrier performance. It will also allow FMCSA to engage more local law enforcement agencies in important enforcement activities and help States expand traffic enforcement activities on CMVs and cars operating unsafely around CMVs, conduct more strike forces that target unsafe motorcoach companies, and expand inspection capability to remote areas. Additional grant funds will provide States the resources they need to help FMCSA raise 7 the bar to entry into the motor carrier industry by meeting the new entrant safety audit timelines established in MAP-21.

We believe that establishing new partnerships and developing policies and programs that promote opportunities to collaborate with all safety stakeholders, together, we can advance a common safety agenda and enhance the CMV safety culture.

Comprehensive Data Utilization and Leveraging Technology

Quality Data

FMCSA’s programs are dependent on timely, accurate, consistent, and complete data for monitoring carrier and driver safety, measuring performance, analyzing regulatory initiatives, and identifying safety issues. Therefore, the Agency has developed a robust program to promote continuous improvement in data quality.

In 2004, FMCSA implemented the State Safety Data Quality (SSDQ) program to help States identify data quality problems in their crash and inspection reporting. The Agency encourages a continuous improvement approach to data quality. When problem areas are identified, FMCSA provides assistance in a number of ways. Each year, through Safety Data Improvement Program grants, FMCSA has provided a total of $3.000 million to support State data quality initiatives. FMCSA monitors State SSDQ performance and provides technical assistance to the States in the form of advice, analytical reports, examples of best practices, and training to assist in improving their data collection and reporting systems, processes, and staffs. The July 2013 SSDQ map shows that 43 States had achieved an overall score of “good” in their monthly data quality results.

In addition, FMCSA developed and maintains the DataQs System, an online system for drivers, motor carriers, Federal and State agencies, and others to file concerns about Federal and State data maintained in MCMIS and released to the public by FMCSA. Through DataQs, errors in the data can be identified and corrected.

Risk and Safety Research

FMCSA leverages new technologies by conducting transformative research that focuses on risk factors and safety technologies to inform and enhance enforcement and compliance. For example, we are identifying, testing, and deploying smart roadside technologies in partnership with Federal, State, and local safety agencies while accelerating the deployment of onboard safety systems by promoting the benefits to fleets and insurance carriers.

As outlined in our strategic plan, FMCSA is developing a data and technology-focused plan that will use data-driven systems and transformative research that focuses on reducing safety risks. As such, FMCSA is undertaking a number of projects to identify areas where vehicle and driver safety performance can be improved. For example, FMCSA will continue to evaluate aspects of naturalistic driving data to determine the causes of safety critical events, interactions with passengers and other vehicles to determine how crash conflicts could be mitigated. FMCSA’s 8 ongoing driver fatigue research program will provide data to better understand fatigue’s impact on driver safety performance and health. For example, the Study of Crash Risks by CMV driver schedules will identify crash risk ratios for various aspects of HOS provisions. The Agency will collect six to ten billion miles of Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) data regarding hours of service and match those data to the crash records of carriers to identify crashes by hour of driving. 

In the area of motorcoach safety, FMCSA has developed a more robust Motorcoach Safety Research Program that includes evaluating naturalistic driving video, testing tire safety, examining minimum maintenance requirements, extending fire research to include school busses, and identifying the amount of restorative sleep needed for drivers.

Integrated Systems

Our Information Technology (IT) systems are critical to our data-driven enforcement and compliance program and provide real-time access to data for the enforcement community, industry, stakeholders, and the public. The IT sustainment program will focus on the operations and maintenance of our core systems, meet all Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements, implement the Motor Carrier Safety Enhanced and Expanded Vetting Initiative, operate FMCSA call centers, operate and maintain the National Registry (Phase I), and replace aging network and server infrastructure to meet IPv6 requirements.

FMCSA’s technology program will continue to adopt, develop, test, and deploy advanced integrated information technology solutions and innovative on-board commercial vehicle, driver, and roadside technologies. FMCSA will begin a large-scale field operational test (FOT) of the Wireless Roadside Inspection (WRI) program. Findings from this field test can lead to more efficient roadside inspections to augment carrier data for the Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA) program. To support DOT’s mission of technology transfer, FMCSA plans to take the lessons learned from the FMCSA’s Advanced System Testing utilizing a Data Acquisition System Highway (FAST DASH) program to continue conducting real-world field tests to assess the costs and potential life-saving benefits of new technology solutions. To support FMCSA rulemaking and enforcement, the FMCSA will conduct a study to test ELDs to ensure compliance with respect to the technical requirements in the HOS and ELD rulemaking.

One FMCSA

The “One FMCSA” focus is part of our continued effort to develop an organization where every employee knows the Agency’s goals and how we are working toward them. This includes not only the Agency’s field, rulemaking and policy staff, but also mission support staff that support all of the Agency’s programs.

Through this vision, the Agency will have the critical leadership, management and services needed by its employees to ensure the success of our core mission. By setting this direction and providing a safe and productive work environment for employees, proper training, and a robust recruitment and retention program, the Agency will maintain the highest level of organizational 9 excellence and productivity toward the safety mission. Centralized oversight and internal controls and financial and budget reporting are crucial in the delivery of our safety mission.

The mission support functions include legal services and are essential to maintaining and improving the delivery of FMCSA’s important programs and operations. Leadership direction has contributed to reduced fatalities; human resources has provided the resources needed to develop competent safety staff; acquisitions, training and management services provide the tools needed to deliver programs and grant support. Robust employee retention and recruitment strategies, leadership development programs and opportunities, safety, health and wellness programs, and proper support and equipment are key factors government wide for maintaining a high performance workforce. These activities are important to our Safety mission and contribute to our success in lowering the total highway fatalities.

FMCSA oversees the safety of trucks and buses entering the U.S. from Mexico and Canada including Federal safety enforcement activities at the U.S./Mexico border to ensure the Mexican carriers entering the U.S. are in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). As important as this effort is, a lack of facilities and poor infrastructure makes the job dangerous. Therefore, we are requesting vitally needed resources to improve our border infrastructure so that inspectors have safe facilities to accomplish their safety critical job.

In accordance with the Department of Transportation Civil Rights Strategic Plan, we will be actively engaged in: achieving the DOT 3% hiring goal for individuals with targeted disabilities; reducing barriers to DOT programs and activities; and increasing minority, women and individuals with disabilities participation in DOT programs. FMCSA will also ensure: that civil rights laws, regulations, and principles are fully integrated in the FMCSA Strategic Plan; there is improved harmony and diversity in the workplace as evidenced by Employee Viewpoint Survey results; and there is an improved work environment and delivery of transportation services. Last, FMCSA will reinforce management’s awareness of data for employee groups which show a low participation rate; advocate the provision of reasonable accommodation to attract and retain employees with targeted disabilities; and ensure that rating officials have clear guidance on performance expectations on the EEO for all Performance Plans.

As part of our continuous improvement effort, the FMCSA values its employees as its number one resource. To ensure continuity in our mission related activities, and minimize our costs, the Agency is emphasizing recruitment and retention programs to help maintain an experienced workforce. The Agency’s primary recruitment and retention program is the Training Academy for new field investigators, auditors and inspectors. In FY 2013, the Academy Training program was revamped leading to accreditation in FY 2014.

We have a more robust summer intern program, a mentoring and coaching program geared towards our investigators and border inspectors and an enhanced manager and supervisortraining program to include 360 degree assessments and coaching. Additionally, FMCSA has a comprehensive program of Professional and Leadership Development for employees to ensure the staff has the most current skill set to perform the job function and to provide a supply of future leaders for the Agency through succession planning. 10

FMCSA fully supports the Department’s Environmental Sustainability goal through compliance with Executive Order 13514 to include working to increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, eliminate waste, and prevent pollution. FMCSA is replacing its vehicle fleet with environmentally-friendly vehicles, including hybrids and those using alternative fuels. Further, the Agency continues to encourage the use of telework and alternative work schedules to reduce congestion and pollution.

Finally, we are committed to a results-oriented transparent business model that measures performance through managing for results and reporting outcomes. FMCSA will strive to build a high-performance business process capable of addressing the challenges of the 21st century. The American people deserve a government that works, where the public interest is the highest priority, the impact of government spending is transparent and held to high, objective standards, and where measurable results and good management matter.

With the resources in this FY 2015 Budget Request, we can more effectively and efficiently meet our vision for a future with zero CMV crashes, fatalities, and injuries by striving towards a crashfree and fully accountable CMV transportation life cycle.

Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014