As prepared, FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez speaks at Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Spring 2018 Workshop
Hilton Portland Downtown, Portland, Oregon
Date delivered: April 9, 2018
Pursuing Common Goals. Thank you, Chris, for your kind introduction. It was great seeing you at the recent Road to Zero Coalition Meeting. I am happy to now join you here during CVSA’s Spring Workshop.
Today, I am pleased to be joined by our Canadian and Mexican safety partners. We are united by our common goal of saving lives by preventing crashes involving large trucks and buses. We at FMCSA have long enjoyed a good relationship with CVSA as we pursue our common goals. I look forward continuing that relationship.
In this spirit, I am pleased to introduce several of our team members who are with us today. Assistant Administrator and Chief Safety Officer Chief Safety Officer Jack Van Steenburg is here, as well as several FMCSA staff. They are available and look forward to speaking with you throughout the event.
An update on FMCSA priorities. This is an exciting time to be a part of the Department of Transportation. We enjoy outstanding leadership from Secretary Elaine Chao. She has outlined the Department’s top three priorities to continue to strengthen our transportation system:
One: Safety is and will always be Priority One. Two: We must address our country’s crumbling infrastructure. And three: We must plan for the future by managing new technologies.
I am excited about the Administration’s priorities and our Agency’s programs to help prevent CMV crashes, reduce injuries, and save lives. I am pleased to share some of the Agency’s priorities with you today.
The ELD rule: What you need to know. First, I would like to mention a subject that generates considerable conversation: electronic logging devices or ELDs. The ELDs will reduce drivers’ exceeding hours of service, reduce driver fatigue and save lives—without impeding commerce or safety.
To clarify, the Hours of Service or Commercial Driver’s Licenses rules have not changed in any way. The ELD rule simply requires most drivers who used paper logs previously to now use ELDs to record their Hours of Service.
As you know, the ELD compliance date was December 18, 2017. Since that time, compliance with the hours-of-service record-keeping requirements, including the ELD rule, has increased.
We continue to see strong—and improving—ELD compliance rates nationwide. According to the most recent available data, compliance has already reached a high of 96 percent.
Part of the reason we are seeing this strong compliance is the support we have received from you, our law enforcement and industry partners. Your preparation to enact and enforce the new requirements has made this a successful transition, and we thank you.
We are mindful, however, of the special difficulties the rule may pose. FMCSA recently announced an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture-related transportation to meet the unique needs of agricultural industries.
Additionally, the recently-signed omnibus funding bill includes a provision that would restrict temporarily the ELD rule on livestock haulers. It prohibits the use of Federal funds—including grant funds by our State partners through Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP)—to enforce the ELD requirement for livestock haulers. The prohibition runs through the end of this fiscal year
We will publish final guidance on both the 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption applicable to the transportation of agricultural commodities and the use of CMVs for personal conveyance.
As you know, the soft enforcement period, when drivers without required ELDs would not be placed out-of-service, and when these violations would not count against a carrier’s Safety Measurement System scores, ended on April 1, 2018.
FMCSA’s ELD outreach to drivers and carriers continues. We have a robust website dedicated to this topic and remain available to answer questions related to the ELD rule.
Creating and enforcing other smart safety regulations. Our Agency continues to work on creating and enforcing other smart regulations. For example, we are working to implement the final rule that sets minimum training standards for new entry-level drivers. The rule was mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21).
Additionally, we are working on a proposed rule to reduce training time for some entry level drivers who already have a CDL. The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule, adopted in 2016, identifies commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who have committed drug and alcohol violations that make them ineligible to operate those vehicles. The compliance date for that rule is January 6, 2020.
The Clearinghouse will serve as a central repository containing records of violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program by commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders.
We are working on a proposed rule to require State Driver Licensing Agencies to check the Clearinghouse to make sure drivers are qualified to operate a CMV.
Another Final Rule we are working on would amend FMCSA´s medical qualification standards. It would allow drivers with insulin-treated diabetes—who can safely operate CMVs in interstate commerce—to do so, without seeking an exemption. We expect to publish the Final Rule this fall.
Now, a word about autonomous vehicles. As we move forward with this discussion, FMCSA has been heavily involved with an emphasis on Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV). Most recently, we published a Request for Comments on Automated Driving Systems from stakeholders, industry, and others.
With the RFC, FMCSA published the Volpe Report, which reviewed our regulations that may present barriers to the advancement of the technology.
FMCSA’s Fiscal Year 2018 Grants. Finally, I want to update you on the status of FMCSA’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY2018) Grants, which are critical to the work many of you do to help save lives and prevent CMV crashes and injuries every day.
In March 2018, FMCSA distributed $65 million of the MCSAP formula grants. This was funding available under the continuing resolution at the time.
With a full year appropriations bill enacted, FMCSA MCSAP grants were funded at the FAST-authorized levels, resulting in MCSAP funding of $294.4 million this year. As a result, we are working to quickly distribute the balance of the MCSAP funds so that the States can execute their Commercial Vehicle Safety Plans.
Also, the FY2018 Commercial Driver’s License Program Improvement (CDLPI) Grant Notice announcement is currently posted on Grants.gov. We anticipate awarding $31 million this year. Please note that the application deadline is a little more than a month away on Tuesday, May 15.
One of the priorities in the CDLPI announcement is the establishment of Employer Notification Services. FMCSA is a proponent of prompt notification to motor carriers when their drivers have violations and other license changes.
These are all examples of the types of work we are pursuing to keep our nation’s roadways safe for all drivers.
Working in collaboration for safer roads. We want all travelers to travel with the confidence that they will reach their destinations safely—whether those destinations include going to work, taking a trip home, or delivering produce or dry goods.
FMCSA makes safety first in everything we do. But safety is not something we can do alone. Rather, we work in collaboration with States, industry, and our other partners—including CVSA.
By continuing our work together, we will meet our shared goal: to ensure CMV safety, which will keep our roads, our drivers, and our nations safer. Thank you.