I had the opportunity to attend my first Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conference this week, though only for a portion of one day. During that time I heard presentations from safety officials from Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Not surprisingly, the presentations were very generic updates without much meat to them. Nonetheless, they were good to hear and the messages were well received by the audience.
Most troublesome to me, however, is the consistent mantra that more and more regulation is the solution to addressing safety issues. Unfortunately, left out of the discussion (or at least in these presentations), was cost. What is the cost of new regulation? While larger carriers may be able to absorb certain costs, it’s the small independents that become financially battered by over regulation. It’s the small independent that is symbolic of the American spirit of entrepreneurship, yet it is excessive regulation that often kills that spirit.
Safety, of course, is a priority. But so are consistency, reasonableness, and competitive fairness. After all, the government that governs best is the government that governs least (Thomas Jefferson).
An overview of each presentation:
Mauricio Hinojosa, Deputy General Director of Supervision
Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes
Though I arrived a little late to his presentation, he provided several statistics on the recent successes in cracking down on unsafe operations. He reaffirmed Mexico’s commitment to safety on the highways.
Doug MacEwen, Chair of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Committee
Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators
He devoted his 10 minute presentation to reviewing the highlights of Canada’s Roady Safety Strategy 2015. His presentation was primarily a summary of this web page: http://ccmta.ca/crss-2015/strategy.php
Anne Ferro, Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
I was afforded the opportunity to interview her one on one the following day, which I did. That interview will be shared in a future edition of Challenge Magazine.
For now, the highlights of her comments at CVSA are:
- Collaboration begins with a good conversation.
- FMCSA, along with its partners in Canada and Mexico, is committed to making sure North America is safest place in the world to travel.
- Work has achieved significant reduction in crashes nationally over the past 5 years – 30% reduction overall.
- Profitability is only achieved through high, high safety standards.
- Success is achieved through teamwork.
- New Entrant program
- Ensures that there is a very clear sense of what is required. Strengthens the focus.
- NAS Tool (screening tool)
- Applying more extensively and will be applying to weed out those who are unsafe.
- CSA – no better example of maintaining safety standards
- Constant performance measurement tool
- Ensures folks are operating at the highest standards
- National Registry on Certified Medical Examiners
- Ensures standards are being followed.
- Ensuring we are moving the high risk entities from the roadway.
- Drug and alcohol clearing house – proposed rule later this year. Ensures carriers have the knowledge they have to only hire the best (avoid drivers who hop from one to the other as a result of drug test or skipping drug tests).
- Pre-employment screening program. Ensures everyone has the tools they need to prevent high risk drivers from getting behind the wheel.
- Enforcement tools
- Eminent hazard – get the bad actors off the road and give them a chance to rehabilitate and improve, or stay off the road.
- Completed and published final rule – focus is to ensure that drivers have the opportunity to get proper rest. Minimize risk of operating after cumulated fatigue.
- Reduces overall weekly hours by 15% (under maximum model – from 82 to 70 hours).
- Rules take effect in July 2013.
- Reduces risk of drivers pushing the limit and of carriers pushing drivers to push the limit.
- FMCSA is developing in depth training programs for enforcement partners.
- Listening session explanation – harassment
- Remedial rule that was struck down last September because FMCSA failed to address the legislatively mandated anti-harassment requirements.
- Next phase – press ahead with current NPRM
- With listening session info and additional research, address harassment issues.
- Include Technical standards.
- Alive and well
- National Registry for Medical Examiners – DOT Physical
- Effective May 2014
- Closing the gap insuring driver DOT physicals are accurate, current, and administered by educated medical examiners that know what it means to be a commercial driver from the perspective of individual health.
- Sleep Apnea
- Accidentally published a rule prior to it being ready.
- Continue to work on the recommendations.
- Will publish later this year, but what you saw last week is fairly accurate.
Jimmy Beasley, Transportation Security Specialist, Highway Motor Carrier Program
Transportation Security Administration
See my recent blog here. Despite what some in President Obama’s Administration say, the TSA said the war on terror is far from over.
Ryan Posten, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Hazardous Materials Safety
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
- He receives 2-3 notifications of cargo tank roll overs daily.
- Promoted the tanker safety training video: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/outreach/cargo-tank-video.aspx
- Working with NHTSA on rule for new electronic stability protection requirements on new vehicles.
- Researching feasibility options for electronic shipping documents instead of traditional paper – this would impact every driver.