Listening session: ‘Beyond compliance’ with the regulations — if, and how, to reward

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Reduce inspection likelihood with added safety investment? Such realities could get a boost from a new FMCSA program whose outcome will be influenced by comment from owner-operators and others in trucking being taken as we speak.Reduce inspection likelihood with added safety investment? Such realities could get a boost from a new FMCSA program whose outcome will be influenced by comment from owner-operators and others in trucking being taken as we speak.

When it comes to incentives to operate in a manner commensurate with public safety — and regulations on the books, though I know many readers contend those two are not always in perfect alignment — there’s probably none better than safety itself, as noted a caller into K.C. Phillips’ Road Dog Trucking Channel radio show on Sirius XM last week. I had to the pleasure of being a guest there to discuss the “Beyond Compliance” program FMCSA’s been looking at for a good while now, dating back at least to a Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee discussion of the idea about a year ago and before among some medium-to-large and even some smaller fleets looking for a way to obtain credit in the CSA SMS or elsewhere for making investments in safety programs or technologies that go beyond the mere letter of the law.

The caller was one among many who’ve been fairly cynical about the effort, including associations who submitted public comment during the last round in the middle of last year and which I reported on in this news piece, accessible via the link. What’s changed in recent times is that Congress included establishment of such a program as a directive in the highway bill, and FMCSA’s since scheduled two listening sessions (one of which is tomorrow) to hear truckers’ feedback on just what kinds of programs/technologies should count toward whatever credit would be given — and just where those incentives should be placed, whether via the CSA SMS when it comes back online in some manner or, as has also been suggested, in Inspection Selection System score reduction to reduce carriers’ likelihood of inspection.

Whatever you think about the program and its origins, the fact is it’s in the works — and the highway bill left pretty wide open just what can potentially be considered both in terms of qualifying programs/technologies as well as incentives. I would encourage anyone with ideas to weigh in via a re-opened public comment period as the listening sessions are ongoing — that includes ideas for how it should be conducted/structures and how it shouldn’t be.

Read more about worry over the potential to create a program that benefits one subset of motor carriers perhaps at the expense of another via this link.

The listening session tomorrow, in Louisville, Ky. (details on the location here), will also be webcast. You can fill out a free registration to sit in on a portion or all of the webcast through the day tomorrow via this link.

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