Obama-Era Safety Fitness Determination Rule is Withdrawn
On March 22, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) officially withdrew its proposed rule on Carrier Safety Fitness Determination (SFD). This proposed rule would have changed the methodology for issuing SFD for motor carriers, determining safety fitness by compiling on-board safety data, an investigation, or a combination of both. The rule would have reduced all existing ratings to simply "Fit" and "Unfit." Last year, NRMCA joined a coalition of commercial motor carrier operators to oppose implementation of this rule until provisions of the Fixing American’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act were implemented. Congress addressed many concerns regarding Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program/Safety Measurement System (SMS) in the FAST Act, and directed a third-party review of the data as well as a study by the National Academy of Sciences.
The coalition began lobbying Members of Congress in 2016 to achieve two things: first to secure appropriations language to halt funding preventing the implementation of the rulemaking and secondly to find Congressional champions who would weigh in with the FMCSA administrator and the transportation secretary on the intent of the language contained in the FAST Act. Finally, in February 2017 NRMCA again joined the coalition of commercial motor carriers urging Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to withdraw the rulemaking. This letter urged that any rulemaking related to SFD consider the provisions of the FAST Act and rely on the forthcoming study by the National Academy of Sciences. In its notice of withdrawal, the FMCSA cited this letter as one of the foremost reasons for withdrawing the proposed rule. Accordingly, FMCSA has announced the withdrawal of the rule and stated that if it determines that changes to the SFD process are necessary in the future, any new rulemaking would incorporate recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences.
This is a big win for the ready mixed concrete industry; we will keep you posted of any further developments.