Beyond Compliance ICR comments due Sept. 17

September 15, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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The public has a couple of days left to comment on FMCSA’s information collection request aimed at studying the effectiveness of safety technologies before it rolls out the congressionally mandated Beyond Compliance program.

Comments on the notice must be submitted by Thursday, Sept. 17, and can be made here. The information collection request published in the Federal Register on Aug. 18. Comments also can be made by visiting the Regulations.gov website and entering Docket No. FMCSA-2018-0328

The 2015 FAST Act required FMCSA to implement the Beyond Compliance program to allow recognition, including an improved Safety Measurement System percentile for motor carriers that added advanced safety equipment and adopted certain safety programs.

FMCSA said the study is aimed at completing three objectives:

  1. Identify high-performing carriers in terms of safety performance.
  2. Determine the safety technologies, programs and policies employed by these carriers.
  3. Gauge the relative effectiveness of those safety technologies, programs and policies based on the expert opinion and performance metrics of the high performing carriers.

As of Sept. 15, three comments had been submitted. One of the comments came from an owner-operator who was critical of mandates and an overemphasis on technology.

“As a one-truck owner-operator with operating authority, I use ELDs, cameras and safe mechanical equipment as my ‘safety devices,’” wrote Clint Bowling of Roscoe, Ill. “I drive 80-100,000 safe miles every year. Racing the legal hours-of-service on an ELD has become way too common and has created unhealthy stress and terrible accidents. Lawmakers are nondrivers and usually don’t understand reality in general, but they should respect the ones doing the actual work, driving the economy and lining their pockets with money they don’t deserve anyway.

“Please slow down the unnecessary safety measures and tactics just to say you’ve ‘done something.’ Accidents are more horrific than ever, and you’re to blame. Your ‘safety groups’ should be able to point this out to you. Slow the driver’s mind down, and the driver will slow the truck down. The accidents will not be as bad if that’s what you’re really concerned about.”

In addition to the carriers invited by FMCSA to participate in the survey, FMCSA said it will also reach out to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Association of Small Trucking Companies to invite them to voluntarily survey members as a supplemental data collection to the structured design.

OOIDA has been critical of the Beyond Compliance program, saying it would allow large fleets to receive better safety scores simply because they can afford the latest technology.

The Association said it is against any “pay to play” approach and believes the Beyond Compliance program should find a way to reward all carriers that improve safety.

“Beyond Compliance must measure and reward actual crash reductions, or continued exemplary performance for those carriers without a preventable DOT reportable crash on a carrier-by-carrier basis,” OOIDA wrote in comments filed in February. “OOIDA strongly believes that the FMCSA must structure Beyond Compliance in a way so all types of carriers can participate in the program, not just larger carriers who can afford it.”

Once the notice is published in the Federal Register, the public can comment on the Regulations.gov website by using Docket No. FMCSA-2018-0328. The comment period will be open for 30 days.

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.