Overdrive Staff | November 01, 2011

— Jill Dunn



Goodyear accepting Highway Hero nominations

Nov. 30 is the deadline for nominations in Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s annual North America Highway Hero program. For consideration, nominees must be a full-time truck driver, reside in the U.S. or Canada, and have been on the job when incident occurred.

Nominations can also be made by calling the Goodyear Highway Hero Hotline at (330) 796-8183.

The nominations will be pared to four finalists, with one individual selected by a trucking industry panel of judges to serve as the ambassador for the program for a year.

— Staff reports

Agency urges CSA driver ratings

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability program would benefit from creating a driver fitness ratings timetable, a federal oversight agency reported.

A federal agency is asking for a schedule to put into effect driver fitness ratings, which would reflect truck inspection reports and other data.

The Government Accountability Office advised FMCSA to routinely report to Congress on CSA implementation issues and how to develop a timeframe to put driver fitness ratings into effect. The agency told GAO it would consider the recommendations.

FMCSA had indicated consideration of implementing driver fitness ratings, but confirmed this intention to GAO Sept. 23. The agency is seeking clarification on its authority to prohibit drivers, if determined to be unfit based on ratings, from operating. It believes it has this authority, but is seeking congressional clarification as part of the next surface transportation reauthorization. The last extension of that funding expires March 31.

FMCSA has prioritized implementing carrier oversight activities, agency officials told GAO. Also, they have more driver data than before, so implementing the driver component is not as critical to CSA’s ability to improve safety as they had believed when designing the program.

Delays are routine when adding a major program such as CSA, but FMCSA has carried out most CSA oversight activities and briefed congressional staff on CSA periodically, agency representatives said. GAO says FMCSA still lacks a comprehensive document specifically outlining status, implementation delays.

CSA replaced SafeStat with the Safety Measurement System to identify high-risk carriers. Nearly a year after the anticipated completion date, FMCSA has partially implemented two of the three CSA carrier oversight activities, the new SMS and an expanded set of intervention in every state. “However, it still cannot use CSA safety ratings to get unsafe carriers off the road because it has not completed a rulemaking needed to do so,” GAO stated.

FMCSA has added most of the expanded enforcement interventions for at-risk carriers. But it has delayed implementation of two interventions, Off-site Investigations and Cooperative Safety Plans, because the technology necessary will not be completed until at least 2012.

FMCSA has not started using SMS data to suspend unfit carriers. It is two years behind in issuing and completing rulemaking needed to use this instead of time-consuming compliance reviews. The agency expects to have a final rulemaking in 2013.

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