New Guidelines for Commercial Trucking Safety & Reporting

Recently the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) presented a thorough strategic platform designed to usher in a new era of highway safety.  The report gives an inclusive view into the structure, goals, and requirements which the FMCSA envision making a part of the safety landscape moving forward into 2016.  It includes in-depth descriptions of technological, safety, and accountability practices for drivers and their companies as well.  These new regulations were open for comment when first put out but have since closed although the comments that were made are available for review on and by searching for the docket ID No. FMCSA-2011-0098.  The comments for the most part appear to be very welcoming to the new regulatory goals set out in the report.  Many drivers are pleased to see increased monitoring and penalties for brokers and trucking companies who insist on bending current rules for faster deliveries at the expense of highway safety.  This provides truckers with a much more stable and protected environment to make decisions based on public safety alone, instead of fears of losing their jobs.  A few small company owners have also chimed in that these new regulations add another choking layer of bureaucracy to their paperwork.  Claiming that larger firms will have an advantage to dealing with these regulations with their abilities and expanded staffs.  These opinions appear to be the minority view however.

The FMCSA’s plan centers around three main principles as laid out by FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.  Those three principles are:

  • Raise the bar to enter the motor carrier industry;
  • Maintain high safety standards to remain in the industry; and
  • To remove high-risk carriers, drivers, and service providers from operation.

This trio of goals is the background of the entire reports release.  Further categories contained within these original items are broken down throughout the report that further explains how the FMSCA envisions its role and policies evolving until 2016.  Many of these items are designed to improve safety, such as driver limits, carrier requirements in order to join and remain in the good graces of the FMSCA.  However, there is another component to the vision to help companies incorporate technology in order to better service their accounts.  This will be down through advance data collection and subsequent reports on those data sets which will then be made available to the public to better understand the best ways to deliver.  This data collection will also be used to monitor carriers in a more in-depth and up-to-date fashion.  Thus compliance officers are going to have to be vigilant in order to stay on top of any issues which may arise from these new data collection policies.

Overall, the report is welcome as it will make highways safer for truckers, motorists, carrier companies, and insurance agencies as well.  While some of the trucking community may deride these new regulations as being overly-excessive and obstructive to enter the industry, the regulations and subsequent data collection should lead to quicker and better innovations in logistics and safety going forward.

Since comments have been disabled on the federal website, feel free to leave your thoughts here.