Dear MCRR Advocate:
If you support the reform initiatives proposed by the MCRR Coalition, you can tell your senators and congressmen by clicking on the "Support Letter for MCRR Coalition" tab at the top of the screen. Simply complete the informational fields. You are given the option to use our standard letter, or revise the letter to express your opinions to your congressmen . Feel free to also customize the "Message Subject". The system automatically submits the letter to your representatives based on the zipcode you entered. Your letter can be sent in less than one minute! We sincerely appreciate your support.
August 22, 2017
Biennial Off-site Audits for All Motor Carriers – A Self-Funded Alternative to SFD and SMS
Federal law requires FMCSA to ascertain the safety of all motor carriers it regulates. See 49 U.S.C. 31144. As shown elsewhere on this site, SMS generates enough data for assignment of scores to only one and one-half percent of all carriers per year. Nor has use of SMS methodology with its skimpy coverage and statistical flaws produced a significant reduction in truck-related accident rates.
MCRR supports an alternative that would assign a safety rating to every motor carrier every other year. This alternative would build on the existing requirements for biennial updates by every carrier under the Unified Registration System (URS), and on the off-site audit process that the Agency now has in place for all new entrants. See FMCSA announcement dated July 31, 2017, available at https://cms.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/carrier-safety/new-entrant-site-safety-audits-national-implementation-schedule .
MCRR proposes that FMCSA require electronic submission of specified information on safety management and safety performance by every motor carrier as part of its biennial URS update on Form MCSA-1. The required data could include, but not necessarily be limited to, what is currently requested in off-site audits for new entrants. To fund staff review of this safety data in a remote or “desktop” audit, a $300 filing fee could be required in connection with MCSA-1 biennial updates. The staff review could be conducted by federal or state officials, or by outside contractors. Where warranted by the data submitted on line, the Agency could use its existing toolkit for interventions and on-site inspections before making a fitness determination.
The end result would be that every carrier would receive a rating as to its fitness to use if it submitted the required data and intervention by the Agency did not appear warranted after an off-site audit. In effect, the Agency would discharge its safety functions through “management by exception,” in which its staff time, travel costs and other resources would be focused on carriers appearing to need intervention. FMCSA has reported that new entrants receiving an off-site audit in a pilot program during 2013 and 2014 “ha[d], on average, equivalent or fewer subsequent … violations than carriers receiving an on-site safety audit.” It is logical to expect that established carriers would perform at least as well in an off-site audit program as new entrants that are still finding their way.
This proposal was presented to FMCSA in comments on its SFD rulemaking. See Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0001, Tracking No. 1k0-8psk-2m3b (May 23, 2016), at pp. 60-63 and accompanying Affidavit of Richard Gobbell at pp. 9-12. Copies of this material are available on request. Rather than making further efforts to fix the unfixable SMS methodology, we submit it is time to try something completely different – universal off-site audits.
To learn more about the biannual audit, continue to visit www.mcrr.net.
June 27, 2017