Yesterday, Friday the 15th, the FMCSA finally released their draft version of the proposed Safety Fitness Determination Rule (SFD) that has been so long delayed.  On the 21st, next Thursday, the Agency will release the final proposed rule and that will start a 60-day clock for all interested parties to submit comments… and Wow, will there be comments!

Vigillo will be studying the 267 page document in depth and detail and I’ll be posting comments here as we begin to wrap our minds around what it all means.  You can find the document yourself here  in short, an entirely new way of measuring and rating motor carrier safety and very severe repercussions if you fall short of these new standards.

I thought I’d just hit a few of the very high level changes that are in the SFD

  1. The existing Safety Fitness ratings of Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory and Conditional, will be replaced by a single rating called Unfit.
  2. A Motor Carrier can be found to be Unfit by either:
    a) Failing in two or more BASICs exclusively on data collected at roadside inspections
    b) Has violations from a new set of proposed acute and critical violations
    c) Failing in two or more BASICs as a result of roadside data and/or Investigation results
  3. In order to Fail in a BASIC on data alone, the Motor Carrier must have at least 11 inspections with violations in that BASIC.  It is impossible to Fail in either the Crash or Drug & Alcohol BASIC on data alone.  A carrier can only Fail in those BASICs following a comprehensive investigation.  The Agency states that Drug & Alcohol dos not have sufficient data, and they are suggesting that Crashes will be reviewed by a “certified” party to determine Preventability.
  4. The proposed SFD failure standards would deem a motor carrier as having failed the BASIC at the 96th percentile for the Unsafe Driving and HOS Compliance BASICs while the proposed standards would determine that a motor carrier has Failed the BASIC at the 99th percentile for the Driver Fitness, Vehicle Maintenance, and HM Compliance.
  5. Carriers found to be unfit are prohibited from operating in interstate commerce or transportation that affects interstate commerce.

So those are a few early comments, more to follow in the coming days as we crunch some numbers, do some more reading, and talk to all of you. Stay tuned.