In a recent announcement that was made on August 25, the FMCSA mentioned that it had drafted an outline that contains several proposals for an upcoming public meeting.
The meeting will be held on September 8, 2017.
It is set to tackle several recommendations that were raised by the NASEM in regards to a study that was previously conducted on the FMCSA’s CSA program.
(Click on the link to have a quick recap of the details and abbreviations used in our previous article on the NASEM’s report of the FMCSA’s safety measurement system.)
Public meetings such as these give members of the trucking industry the opportunity to raise their concerns on regulatory issues to the agency for proper review.
Having these concerns clarified and addressed would help both the FMCSA and the trucking industry prepare for the upcoming changes, such as the ELD mandate that is soon to take effect.
Holding this public meeting would help the FMCSA speed up their creation of the action plan that they are required to submit to the Congress and the USDOT inspector general within 120 days after the release of the NASEM report.
This action plan answers how they propose to address the recommendations that the NASEM report suggested.
Upon receipt of the action plan, the inspector general is also mandated to review the proposal and submit to the Congress a report on the responsiveness of the proposal of the FMCSA.
What is the Study All About?
On June 27, 2017, the NASEM released a 132-page study that investigated the FMCSA’s CSA program and the Safety Measurement System (SMS) under that program.
The study was conducted by an academic panel of experts consisting of 12 members who mostly specialize in statistics and transportation safety policy. The study, which took place over the past 15 months, was directly mandated by the FAST Act of 2015 and was funded by the FMCSA.
One of the recommendations included in the study was for the agency to develop within a timespan of two years an IRT approach that assesses the safety levels of motor carriers.
Integrating the IRT into the Safety Measurement System (SMS) would make their safety analysis model more detail-oriented.
It allows data that is acquired by the SMS to be more specific and to reach far beyond the motor carrier level and even penetrate into the individual performances of motor vehicles.
With the implementation date of the ELD mandate fast approaching, a wide-scale data collection strategy that could be performed by the FMCSA would soon be feasible.
With electronic logging devices installed in every vehicle, details that could allow the agency to measure an individual driver’s safety score — which could be based on details, such as daily Hours of Service compliance — could actually be conducted.
The Announcements by the FMCSA
Despite having already accepted the recommendations made by the panel, the FMCSA mentioned that it is still currently in the process of “considering and evaluating actions to address the recommendations.”
In response to the IRT model recommended by the study, the FMCSA mentioned:
“To address this recommendation, FMCSA is securing additional expertise and resources to develop and test the proposed IRT statistical model.…The testing of an IRT model is consistent with FMCSA’s continuous improvement process of modifying and testing changes to the safety measurement system by focusing on data quality, data collection and transparency.”
The FMCSA said that it plans to work hand-in-hand with the NASEM to establish a future standing committee.
This committee is visioned to oversee and provide insights on how to address recommendations and other possible future criticisms and improvements on safety regulations and measures.
The agency also mentioned its intent in continuing its collaboration with other states and agencies in improving the quality of their MCMIS.
Of course, there are several other points that were discussed by the FMCSA during the announcement.
If you want to read more about them, you can click this link.
How Can I Participate?
The public meeting will be held on September 8, 1:00-4:00 pm EDT at the FMCSA National Training Center in Arlington, Virginia.
The meeting is planned to feature presentations held by the study’s research panel and will have a timeslot for the public to ask questions and provide feedback for the agency to note down.
The FMCSA invites anyone who is interested in attending the public meeting to join by registering online.
You can register for the public meeting by clicking this link.
Alternatively, for those who are not able to attend physically, the FMCSA will also be hosting a virtual webinar option.
Virtual attendees can fully participate in the live webinar by following the presentation and discussion materials as well as by submitting their questions and inputs online.
You can register for the online webinar by clicking this link.
The upcoming public meeting is bound to once again shift the landscape of the trucking industry because of the diverse range of feedback that the agency expects to receive. Policy changes and regulatory reforms on safety measures and compliance are expected to once again happen because of the various comments and criticisms that are expected to rise.
In fact, carriers that are not yet equipped with the right tools might even experience problems and drawbacks once these reforms arrive.
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