FMCSA extends new entrant audit test

Sept. 8, 2014

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended through the end of this year an operational test of using documentation rather than on-site visits to conduct new entrant safety audits.

In a Federal Register notice to be published Sept. 9, FMCSA also said it was updating its information technology systems so that when the agency identifies an automatic failure violation based on records the motor carrier provides under the operational test, the carrier will automatically fail the audit and go into the corrective action process. Federal motor carrier safety regulations specify 16 violations that will automatically fail a new entrant in a safety audit.

When FMCSA announced the new entrant safety assurance operational test a year ago, it said that the program, which began in July 2013, would continue for up to 12 months. The test was limited to certain jurisdictions – initially California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Montana and the Canadian provinces contiguous with Montana and New York; FMCSA added Alaska in December 2013.

The goal is to compare these off-site new entrant audits to the traditional new entrant safety audits conducted at the motor carriers’ carrier’s principal place of business (PPOB). FMCSA will assess each approach’s impact on resource allocation and subsequent safety performance of new entrant motor carriers.

FMCSA said the change regarding automatic failure of the audit under off-site procedures was based on a desire to make the off-site process consistent with audits conducted at carriers’ PPOBs and because many carriers who were found to have automatic failures in document reviews still failed the follow-up on-site audits. The agency added that that allowing a new entrant motor carrier known to be operating with automatic failure violations can pose a threat to public safety. FMCSA said it will monitor the change and compare the results and workload impacts to the earlier portion of the test.

About the Author

Avery Vise | Contributing editor

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