The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Wednesday, May 9, published on its website the final version of its “2012-2016 Strategic Plan: Preventing Crashes … Saving Lives,” a document the agency says presents a new comprehensive direction to focus its efforts on outreach, oversight and enforcement resources directed at the entire CMV transportation life cycle.
FMCSA says the plan establishes a framework that places safety as the highest priority and employs three core principles:
• Raising the bar to entry;
• Requiring to maintain high safety standards; and
• Removing high-risk carriers and drivers.
The plan is FMCSA’s second such document since the agency was established in 2000. The new strategic plan is broken down into four focus areas:
• CMV Safety 1st Culture: Develop and deliver programs that address safety deficiencies with carriers, drivers and service providers, and emphasize accountability and responsibility; and deliver comprehensive safety programs and establish strong enforcement strategies and sanctions that achieve safety by regulated entities or remove them from the CMV system;
• Exponential Safety Power (SafetyX Power): Establish new partnerships and develop policies and programs promoting opportunities to collaborate with all stakeholders on CMV safety interventions. FMCSA will build a coordinated network of safety stakeholders to advance a common safety agenda and use rulemaking as a tool to support its safety mission, enabling it to better evaluate the impact of rule implementation on those groups. The agency also will explore new outreach and education activities that promote safety awareness in the education community and new ways of providing safety materials to carriers affordably;
• Using Comprehensive Data & Leveraging Technology: Developing a data- and technology-focused plan that will use data-driven systems and transformative research that focuses on risk, as well as new technologies that best support all programs and accelerate the impact of safety programs. The agency will improve standards and systems to identify, collect, evaluate and disseminate real-time performance data to all employees, customers, partners and stakeholders; and
• One FMCSA: Improve the strategic management of programs and human capital to build and sustain a diverse work force and to develop innovative solutions. The agency will become even more mission-centric through the redesign and optimization of FMCSA policies, process, rulemaking and legislative changes.
FMCSA says it will continue to strengthen its federal, state and local partnerships and reach out to all stakeholders, the public, industry and related associations, victims and advocacy groups in order to eliminate severe crashes, injuries and fatalities involving CMVs, thereby achieving a safer transportation environment.
FMCSA published its proposed draft for the strategic plan on June 29, 2011, and allowed comments for 30 days. The American Trucking Associations on July 29, 2011, said the plan as drafted did not do enough to address the root causes of crashes.
“ATA commends FMCSA for acknowledging the need to address all entities that affect truck and driver safety in the transportation life cycle, especially the operators of passenger vehicles with which trucks share the road,” ATA wrote in its comments. “However, while the draft plan addresses these issues, it falls far short in that it does not identify the primary causes of crashes and prioritize countermeasures and solutions accordingly.”
ATA said it recognized that FMCSA’s primary role is to regulate the trucking industry. “However, the agency’s mission is to reduce truck crashes,” ATA wrote. “While the goals identified in the draft plan are certainly laudable, it is appropriate to align these goals with the agency’s overarching object: to reduce truck crashes.” By minimizing the emphasis on addressing passenger vehicle driver behavior, “FMCSA will, at best, only impact the minority of truck crashes – perhaps less than 30 percent – caused by truck drivers.”