For almost a decade, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has operated as a separate safety regulatory agency within the Department of Transportation. In that time, hundreds of thousands of new commercial motor vehicle (CMV) carriers and millions of new drivers have entered the industry FMCSA regulates. At the end of 2008, there were over 731,473 carriers registered with FMCSA and over 14 million holders of commercial driver licenses (CDLs) across the country. With this enormous growth, the total vehicle miles traveled (VMT), for all vehicles, across the country increased from 2.7 trillion in 2000 to over 2.9 trillion in 2008. Despite this growth, the efforts of dedicated FMCSA employees and its state partners have led to an overall reduction in the CMV - related fatality rate of 24 percent since 2000. In 2008 (the most recent year for available crash data), the fatality rate from crashes involving large trucks and buses decreased to 0.155 per 100 million VMT. This represents a decrease for the fifth consecutive year. FMCSA has exceeded its ambitious target of reducing fatalities involving large trucks and buses to a rate of no more than 0.160 fatalities per 100 million VMT by the end of 2011.
Even with these encouraging performance indicators, the Agency still faces substantial challenges that the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget seeks to address. To ensure that this progress continues and that FMCSA programs will continue to result in reduced fatality rates, the Agency proposes a FY 2011 budget request of $569 million for programs authorized under the extension of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
the Administration is working with Congress to develop a comprehensive approach for surface transportation reauthorization, the FY 2011 Budget request for FMCSA contains no policy recommendations for programs subject to the granting of new or expanded authority. However, FMCSA has analyzed the operational challenges posed by an increasingly complex and growing CMV industry. Critical shortfalls in the Agency’s capabilities will continue to pose obstacles in meeting these challenges. The FY 2011 budget includes a request for approximately $20 million in additional funds and authorization for 59 additional full time equivalent (FTE) staff over the FY 2010 enacted level. This request also takes into consideration the growing needs of state grantees and asks for reallocation of $8 million between three grant programs in order to competently implement timely safety regulations. This request addresses existing performance gaps and allow the Agency to meet several immediate new challenges, such as, regulatory implementation, process improvements, and modernization of safety data systems and procedures, that are critical in supporting the Agency’s safety initiatives.