The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act was introduced late last week, a bill that reauthorizes the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and takes “critical steps [to] ensure only the safest motor carriers and drivers are able to enter the industry.”
U.S. Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg, chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, and John D. Rockfeller IV (D-WV), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced the bill last Thursday. They said it will improve the safety laws governing current carriers and drivers, and increase FMCSA’s enforcement tools to remove unsafe and unfit drivers and carriers from the industry.
“We must do more to make sure large trucks and buses are not a threat on our roadways and are only operated by the most qualified drivers,” said Lautenberg. “While most drivers and companies put safety first, crashes still happen, and when they do, the consequences can be devastating. This bill will give the Dept. of Transportation the tools to kick unsafe drivers and carriers out of the industry and keep America’s roadways safe.”
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act would:
• Require electronic onboard recorders be used on all trucks and buses used in Interstate commerce in order to improve drivers’ compliance with hours of service rules.
• Improve the DOT registration process by requiring an applicant to pass a safety proficiency examination and submission of a safety management plan as a precondition for operating authority.
• Bolster FMCSA’s ability to crack down on “reincarnated carriers” — carriers that attempt to resume operations after being put out of service — by increasing the administration’s ability to revoke carriers’ operating authority and by requiring new operators to disclose all relationships with other motor carriers over the past five years as a condition of receiving operating authority.
• Directs DOT to support FMCSA’s implementation of its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, which will increase its oversight of the truck and bus industry and give it the authority to assess the safety fitness of drivers to further identify unsafe drivers.