November 6, 1997
The Federal Highway Administration has adopted some changes in the safety fitness rating methodology as part of the goal of achieving a more performance-based means of determining when a carrier is not fit to conduct operations.
By a notice published in the November 6 Federal Register, we have incorporated a safety fitness rating methodology as an appendix to the Motor Carrier Safety Fitness Procedures regulations.
We took this action largely in response to a federal court finding that our procedures for assigning safety ratings had been adopted without proper notice and comment rulemaking.
The new rule also includes a new procedural right for carriers. If a proposed safety rating is unsatisfactory or conditional, it will not become effective until 45 days after the carrier is so notified of the proposed rating. During that period, the carrier may try to improve its compliance posture or bring any material factual issues in dispute to the attention of the Office of Motor Carriers.
In the near future, we will also publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting comments on the future of a rating system that can be used both in making safety fitness determinations and in meeting the demands of shippers, insurers, and other present and potential users interested in evaluating motor carrier performance.
Further information is available from William C. Hill of the Office of Motor Carriers (202-366-4009).
George L. Reagle
Associate Administrator for Motor Carriers