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DOT/FMCSA RIN: 2126-AB11 Publication ID: Fall 2011 
Title: +Carrier Safety Fitness Determination  
Abstract: This rulemaking would revise 49 CFR part 385, Safety Fitness Procedures, in accordance with the Agency´s major new initiative, Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA). CSA is a new operational model FMCSA plans to implement that is designed to help the Agency carry out its compliance and enforcement programs more efficiently and effectively. Currently, the safety fitness rating of a motor carrier is determined based on the results of a very labor intensive compliance review conducted at the carrier´s place of business. Aside from roadside inspections and new audits, the compliance review is the Agency´s primary intervention. Under CSA, FMCSA would propose to implement a broader array of progressive interventions, some of which allow FMCSA to make contact with more carriers. Through this rulemaking FMCSA would establish safety fitness determinations based on safety data from crashes, inspections, and violation history rather than just the standard compliance review. This will enable the Agency to assess the safety performance of a greater segment of the motor carrier industry with the goal of further reducing large truck and bus crashes and fatalities. 
Agency: Department of Transportation(DOT)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: 49 CFR 385   
Legal Authority: Sec 4009 of TEA-21   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: Because of the time and expense associated with the on-site compliance review, only a small fraction of carriers (approximately 12,000) receive a safety fitness determination each year. Since the current safety fitness determination process is based exclusively on the results of an on-site compliance review, the great majority of carriers subject to FMCSA jurisdiction do not receive a timely determination of their safety fitness. The proposed methodology for determining motor carrier safety fitness should correct the deficiencies of the current process. In correcting these deficiencies, FMCSA has made a concerted effort to develop a "transparent" method for the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) that would allow each motor carrier to understand fully how FMCSA established that carrier's specific SFD.

Summary of the Legal Basis: This rule is based primarily on the authority of 49 U.S.C. 31144, which directs the Secretary of Transportation to "determine whether an owner or operator is fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle" and to "maintain by regulation a procedure for determining the safety fitness of an owner or operator." This statute was first enacted as part of the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984, section 215, Public Law 98-554, 98 Stat. 2844 (Oct. 30, 1984). The proposed rule also relies on the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 31133, which gives the Secretary "broad administrative powers to assist in the implementation" of the provisions of the Motor Carrier Safety Act now found in chapter 311 of title 49, U.S.C. These powers include, among others, authority to conduct inspections and investigations, compile statistics, require production of records and property, prescribe recordkeeping and reporting requirements and to perform other acts considered appropriate. These powers are used to obtain the data used by the Safety Management System and by the proposed new methodology for safety fitness determinations. Under 49 CFR 1.73(g), the Secretary has delegated the authority to carry out the functions in subchapters I, III, and IV of chapter 311, title 49, U.S.C., to the FMCSA Administrator. Sections 31133 and 31144 are part of subchapter III of chapter 311.

Alternatives: The Agency has been considering only two alternatives: The no-action alternative and the proposal.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The Agency has estimated the crash-reduction benefit from the change to the proposed safety fitness determination process to be about $441 million annually. The total cost is estimated at $13 million annually. Net benefits are about $428 million annually.

Risks: A risk of incorrectly identifying a compliant carrier as non-compliant -- and consequently subjecting the carrier to unnecessary expenses -- has been analyzed and has been found to be negligible under the process being proposed.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  04/00/2012    
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:   Public Comment URL:  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
David Miller
Regulatory Development Division
Department of Transportation
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE,
Washington, DC 20590
Phone:202 366-5370

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