On Thursday, January 21, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) designed to enhance the Agency’s ability to identify non-compliant motor carriers. The Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) NPRM would update FMCSA’s safety fitness rating methodology by integrating on-road safety data from inspections, along with the results of carrier investigations and crash reports, to determine a motor carrier’s overall safety fitness on a monthly basis.
The proposed SFD rule would replace the current three-tier federal rating system of “satisfactory-conditional-unsatisfactory” for federally regulated commercial motor carriers (in place since 1982) with a single determination of “unfit,” which would require the carrier to either improve its operations or cease operations.
How can I find out more about the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)?
The proposal will be available at www.regulations.gov at docket number FMCSA-2015-0001. The initial comment period has been extended until May 23, 2016. Response comments will be accepted for an additional 30 days.
- SFD Compliance With the FAST Act FAQs
- SBA Roundtable Q&As
- PDF version of the NPRM
- Informational webinar about the NPRM
The Agency has developed a calculator for motor carriers to determine how the proposed rule would impact them.
What are the big differences?
- There would no longer be three safety ratings: satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory. Rather, there would only be one safety rating: “unfit.”
- Carriers would be assessed monthly, using fixed failure measures that are identified in the NPRM. Stricter standards would be used for those BASICS with a higher correlation to crash risk: Unsafe Driving and Hours of Service Compliance.
- Violations of a revised list of “critical” and “acute” safety regulations would result in failing a BASIC.
- All investigation results would be used, not just from comprehensive on-site reviews.
- A carrier could be proposed unfit by failing two or more BASICs through:
- Investigation results
- A combination of both
The carriers identified in the Agency’s analysis have crash rates that are more than three times the national average.
Why is FMCSA proposing changes?
- Currently, FMCSA and its State partners can only assess the safety of a small number of motor carriers.
- Using additional safety data from our systems will allow FMCSA and its State partners to be more efficient in assessing carriers and identifying those that should be proposed unfit.
- Under the present system, it is possible for carriers with a conditional safety rating to operate indefinitely.
- Through SFD proposal, a broader amount of safety data would be used in making the proposed determination.
- Using the proposed process, the Agency estimates that 75,000 carriers a month would be assessed for safety fitness.
How is SFD different than the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?
- SFD is a safety rating system, SMS is prioritization system.
- Under SFD, a motor carrier’s performance is compared to an absolute failure standard, not against other motor carriers.
- A motor carrier’s SFD performance measures are not impacted by other carriers’ performance.
- A higher data sufficiency standard is used in SFD; a motor carrier would need to have 11 or more inspections with violations in a BASIC before it could potentially fail the BASIC.
How would I know if this proposal would impact my company?
If your company does not have 11 or more inspections with violations in two or more BASICs and/or an investigation with violations cited in the past month, you would not be impacted by this proposed rule.