Federal Agency to Reward Commercial Carriers for Safety Improvements

dreamstime_xs_34071659Beyond Compliance Program Encourages Safety Investment

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a new rule to implement its “Beyond Compliance” program. A directive to the FMCSA to create the incentives program was included in the America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), passed in December 2015. The legislation requires the FMSCA to implement the program at least 18 months from the law’s enactment date.

Under the Beyond Compliance program, the FMSCA will either give a carrier credit through the new Beyond Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) or improve its Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile if the company:

  • Installs advanced safety equipment
  • Uses enhanced driver fitness measures
  • Adopts fleet safety management tools, technologies, and programs
  • Satisfies other standards determined appropriate by the Administrator

Win-Win Incentive Program

Safety technology has dramatically improved. When trucking companies install new safety features or update their safety policies, we all benefit.

Yet tractor-trailer companies sometimes face enormous costs to put safety features into action. Carriers may want to improve the safety of their trucks and drivers but not have the funds to do so.

By rewarding tractor-trailer corporations that implement safety features and policies, the government gives them incentive to invest in cutting-edge technologies that result in safer roads.

The American Trucking Associations applauded the new program for shifting the FMCSA’s traditional enforcement role to a prevention-based role through rewards for safe practices.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance cautioned against rewarding companies that implement advanced safety technology, but slide on other crucial regulations, such as hours of service rules. However FMCSA has emphasized that the Beyond Compliance program will not allow relief from regulatory requirements.

Let the FMSCA Know What You Think

There were 4,186 tractor-trailers, buses and other large commercial vehicles involved in fatal accidents in 2013, the last year in which complete statistics are available. Fatal crashes increased by 3 percent in 2013 from 2012, which had a five percent increase over 2011. The FMCSA has to do more to improve commercial vehicle’s safety on our highways.

The Beyond Compliance Program rule is open for comments until June 20, 2016. The public has the opportunity to express our opinions and offer suggestions about improving the rule including “identifying and reviewing advanced safety equipment, enhanced driver fitness measures, fleet safety management tools, technologies, and programs, and other standards for use by motor carriers to receive recognition.”

As long as the provisions put the public’s safety first, any rule that rewards trucking companies for good safety practices has my backing.

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