FMCSA provides details on safety fitness listening sessions

June 10, 2024

Mark Schremmer

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For those who are unable to attend this month’s Texas Trucking Show in Houston, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is offering a pair of virtual listening sessions to discuss safety fitness determinations for motor carriers.

Last week, FMCSA announced it was hosting a public listening session from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Central on June 29 at Houston’s NRG Center.

On Monday, June 10, the agency confirmed details regarding two online-only listening sessions about safety fitness determinations.

The virtual listening sessions will be on June 25 and July 31. Both of the online listening sessions will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Central.

“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment as it considers the development of a new methodology to determine when a motor carrier is not fit to operate commercial motor vehicles in or affecting interstate commerce,” the agency wrote. “Before proceeding with next steps in the rulemaking process, FMCSA will host a series of one in-person and two virtual listening sessions to gather public comment.”

Last August, FMCSA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that asked for feedback on whether the process to determine a motor carrier’s safety fitness needs to be revised.

All three listening sessions are part of an attempt to gather additional feedback before moving forward with a formal proposal.

“Specifically, the agency would like to hear from members of the public on issues of concern relating to safety fitness determination, including, for example, the three-tiered rating system (Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Conditional) versus changing to a proposed single rating only when a carrier is found to be unfit,” FMCSA wrote in the notice.

In comments submitted in November, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association told the agency that the current system is ineffective.

“The FMCSA safety fitness determination process has a direct effect on motor carriers’ ability to stay in business,” OOIDA wrote in its comments. “Historically, the safety fitness determination structure has not been proven as a reliable methodology to properly determine a motor carrier’s fitness to operate. Most of the (program’s) shortcomings relate to the inaccuracy and inconsistency of the data that is collected and analyzed during a safety investigation.”

How to participate

The listening session in Houston is open to the public, and there will be an opportunity for individuals to comment. Attendees do not need to pre-register for the listening session, but registration is required for the Texas Truck Show.

Information on how to register for the June 25 and July 31 online sessions can be found here.

For those who are unable to attend any of the listening sessions, FMCSA will accept written comments through Aug. 7 at SafetyFitnessDetermination@dot.gov. LL