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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

DOT Agency—Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration—Issues Long-Term Strategy and Performance Plan

The Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently issued a draft document outlining its Long-Term Strategy and Performance Plan (66 Fed. Reg. 10049, Feb. 13, 2001). In January 2000, FMCSA became the newest Administration within DOT. The following discusses some background regarding the creation of FMCSA, the new agency's mission, and the goals and objectives outlined in the above-referenced planning documents.

  • FMCSA was created as part of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-159).

  • Congress' goals for FMCSA are to:

       (1) Improve commercial motor vehicle, operator, and carrier safety.

       (2) Reduce the number and severity of large truck-involved crashes on U.S. highways.

  • The draft strategy report and performance plan outline the agency's program for achieving the goals of the Act for the period between fiscal years 2002 and 2009.

    * It is noted, however, that many of the initiatives described in the plan will require additional resources for full implementation and will not be deployed until after agency programs are reauthorized by legislation, which is anticipated in FY 2004.

Major Goals and Objectives of the FMCSA Strategy and Performance Plan

   Although a link to the FMCSA strategy documents is included below, the following points highlight the agency's major goals and objectives as articulated in its draft performance plan.

The Problem

  • Between 1980 and 1999, more than 97,000 citizens lost their lives in traffic crashes involving large trucks and buses.

  • The expanding demand for trucking services and the changing nature of the industry pose significant safety challenges.

  • The safety challenge stemming from passenger ridership or intercity motorcoaches continues to be a national priority.

  • Dramatic changes in the large commercial truck and commercial passenger vehicle industry are placing added pressure on the safety of the nation's transportation system.

Organizational Challenges for FMCSA

  • Addressing the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders in the motor carrier industry and a variety of other public and private organizations with interests in safety.

  • Building internal capabilities that will enable the agency to maintain technical competence and leadership in an environment in which industry and government are undergoing rapid change.

  • Transitioning from existing administrative systems to new systems, policies, and procedures that better meet the needs of employees and others.

  • Building better relationships with other federal and state agencies, industry, and private organizations with an interest in commercial vehicle safety.

Goals of FMCSA

  • Reduce the number of deaths and injuries in truck and bus crashes by 50% by 2010.

* This goal translates into approximately 2,500 lives saved and 65,000 injuries prevented annually.

  • Make FMCSA employees and systems the performance benchmarks in government for efficiency, innovation, and mission results. Core values include:
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism
  • Commitment
  • Excellence
  • Cooperation

  • Objectives and Strategies * Safety Goal

       As part of its safety goal, FMCSA has identified four areas which raise significant safety issues. These issues and the agency related objectives are outlined below. (A complete discussion of the steps the agency will take to meet these goals can be accessed through the link to the FMCSA document.)

      Commercial and Passenger Vehicle Drivers

      • Ensure that all commercial motor vehicle drivers are fully qualified, safe, alert, and healthy.

      • Improve the safety and performance of non-commercial drivers with respect to trucks.

      Commercial Vehicles

      • Commercial motor vehicles must have optimum safety performance.

      Roadways and Environment

      • Roadway systems are should be optimized for commercial motor vehicle safety.

      Motor Carrier Safety Management Practices

      • Increase the safety performance of the worst offenders in order to meet the norm.

      • Facilitate improvement in the overall safety performance of the motor carrier industry through refined and enhanced safety management systems.

      Safety Data and Research

      • High-quality, complete, and timely safety performance data.

      • A dynamic and focused motor carrier research and technology program.

    FMCSA's Highest Priorities for Safety

       Although the agency presents 31 strategic safety initiatives as part of its safety goal, the following tasks were considered to be of highest importance by the agency:

    Driver Safety

    • Improve the effectiveness of the Commercial Driver License program and the Commercial Driver Licensing Information System.

    • Accelerate the research, testing, and deployment of crash avoidance technologies.

    • Increase the number of commercial driver inspections.

    • Increase public and driver education.

    Commercial Vehicle Performance

    • Continue vehicle inspection levels with a focus on technology improvements.

    • Use tax credits to deploy vehicle safety technologies.

    Motor Carrier Safety Management Practices

    • Continue the enforcement focus on high-risk carriers and make the compliance review process more effective and efficient.

    • Fully deploy PRISM and set up procedures for new entrants. Make safety performance information available.

    • Benchmark safety management practices and establish self-help programs.

    Roadway Improvements

    • Seek to assure that high-risk commercial vehicle crash locations are given priority in the selection of state highway safety improvement projects.

    Data/Research/Technology Improvements

    • Expand the scope of the research and technology program to support the full range of safety programs and increase program investment.

    • Place greater emphasis on technology transfer and deployment that leads to its commercial use.

    • Improve safety data collection and analysis through overall improvements in data on commercial driver citations, crashes, and intrastate carriers.

    Objectives and Strategies * Organizational Goal

    As part of its organizational goal, FMCSA has identified three areas which will allow the agency to meet its mission and vision. These issues and the agency related objectives are outlined below. (A complete discussion of the 20 strategic initiatives associated with this goal can again be accessed through the link to the FMCSA document.)

    Human Resources

    • A diverse, competent, and motivated workforce.

    Information Technology

    • All information systems are quickly accessible.

    Program, Processes, and Services

    • Organizational excellence in programs, processes, and services.

    How to Submit Comments to FMCSA

       FMCSA is accepting comments on its Long-Term Strategy and Performance Plan through February 28, 2001, although late submissions will be accepted to the extent feasible. Comments may be submitted in the following manner:

    Mail or Hand Deliver to:

    U.S. Department of Transportation
    Dockets Management Facility, Room PL-401
    400 Seventh Street, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20590

    ATTN: Docket FMCSA 2000-7645

    (Be sure to include docket reference number FMCSA 2000-7645.)