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Unified Agenda 2126-AB11

Carrier Safety Fitness Determination


FMCSA proposes to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to adopt revised methodologies that would result in a safety fitness determination (SFD). The proposed methodologies would determine when a motor carrier is not fit to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in or affecting interstate commerce based on (1) the carrier's performance in relation to five of the Agency's Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs); (2) an investigation; or (3) a combination of on-road safety data and investigation information. The intended effect of this action is to reduce crashes caused by CMV drivers and motor carriers, resulting in death, injuries, and property damage on U.S. highways, by more effectively using FMCSA data and resources to identify unfit motor carriers, and to remove them from the Nation's roadways.

Statement of need

Because of the time and expense associated with the on-site compliance review, only a small fraction of carriers (approximately 12,000) receive a safety fitness determination each year. Since the current safety fitness determination process is based exclusively on the results of an on-site compliance review, the great majority of carriers subject to FMCSA jurisdiction do not receive a timely determination of their safety fitness. The proposed methodology for determining motor carrier safety fitness should correct the deficiencies of the current process. In correcting these deficiencies, FMCSA has made a concerted effort to develop a "transparent" method for the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) that would allow each motor carrier to understand fully how FMCSA established that carrier's specific SFD.

Legal Basis

This rule is based primarily on the authority of 49 U.S.C. 31144, which directs the Secretary of Transportation to "determine whether an owner or operator is fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle" and to "maintain by regulation a procedure for determining the safety fitness of an owner or operator." This statute was first enacted as part of the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984, section 215, Public Law 98-554, 98 Stat. 2844 (Oct. 30, 1984). The proposed rule also relies on the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 31133, which gives the Secretary "broad administrative powers to assist in the implementation" of the provisions of the Motor Carrier Safety Act now found in chapter 311 of title 49, U.S.C. These powers include, among others, authority to conduct inspections and investigations, compile statistics, require production of records and property, prescribe recordkeeping and reporting requirements, and to perform other acts considered appropriate. These powers are used to obtain the data used by the Safety Management System and by the proposed new methodology for safety fitness determinations. Under 49 CFR 1.73(g), the Secretary has delegated the authority to carry out the functions in subchapters I, III, and IV of chapter 311, title 49, U.S.C., to the FMCSA Administrator. Sections 31133 and 31144 are part of subchapter III of chapter 311.


The Agency has been considering several alternatives.

Costs and Benefits

The Agency is continuing to review the estimated costs and benefits of the proposed rule.


A risk of incorrectly identifying a compliant carrier as non-compliant—and consequently subjecting the carrier to unnecessary expenses—has been analyzed and has been found to be negligible under the process being proposed.


1 action from April 2015

  • April 2015
    • NPRM


  • David Miller
    Regulatory Development Division
    Phone 202 366-5370
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE,
    Washington DC 20590

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