Darling confirmation hearing slated for Jan. 20 FMCSA photo

Darling confirmation hearing slated for Jan. 20

Improving CSA, accuracy of data listed as top agency challenges

Scott Darling, who was chosen to fill in for the departing Anne Ferro in August 2014 and was formally nominated to be the next administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration a year later, will finally get his confirmation hearing Jan. 20, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announced Thursday.

At the time of his nomination, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx cited Darling’s proven leadership at FMCSA, which he has continued to manage after the statutory limit on his service as "acting administrator" expired last March.

Darling says that, if confirmed, he will continue the "outreach efforts" that allow industry, advocacy groups, and the public to contribute "meaningfully" to the agency's safety mission and enforcement efforts.

"We at FMCSA must ensure that those entering the motor carrier industry (i.e., carriers and drivers) are fit to provide a sufficient level of safety and are not a danger to the travelling public or themselves. This takes many forms, from effective management of the leadership of FMCSA Program offices in DOT headquarters, to ensuring all personnel have the tools and support to perform their jobs. Everyone must understand and uniformly apply the Agency’s policies and guidance emanating from Washington," Darling writes in his nomination questionnaire. "I will do my upmost to ensure that FMCSA proposes and implements rulemaking and other initiatives that are comprehensive, based on provable data, and are cost effective and minimally intrusive. I will continue to work collaboratively with the highly competent and motivated FMCSA career executives to find savings and efficiency within the agency. We will continue to offer regular and casual users of motor carriers the best information and guidance possible."

In discussing FMCSA’s top three challenges, he lists the first as “increasing truck and bus safety, period.” He also cites improving the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program and improving the accuracy and collection of data “critical to informing rulemakings, programs, and enforcement actions.”

The 16 months the agency has been without a Senate-approved administrator surpasses the 10-month span that elapsed between the departure of John Hill in Jan. 2009 and Ferro’s swearing in, according to an FMCSA history provided to Fleet Owner.

An Obama political appointee, Darling joined FMCSA as chief council in 2012, serving as the agency’s top legal officer and managing the staff of attorneys. Previously, he was deputy chief of staff and assistant general counsel for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, where earlier he had served as environmental and land use counsel.

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