The next level of commercial vehicle safety
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is an international organization of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Like everyone here at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the members of CVSA share a single purpose--to keep the commercial vehicles and drivers on our roadways moving safely.
Earlier this week at the CVSA Annual Conference in Denver, I gave our safety partners a brief overview of FMCSA’s accomplishments and priorities.
First and foremost, America’s roads and highways are safer than they’ve ever been. In fact, in the most recent 5-year period, truck-related deaths dropped 28 percent.
But despite these gains in safety, every single day, an average of 11 people are killed in crashes involving large trucks, and 241 people are injured. And in 2011, more than 3,800 were killed in these crashes. These numbers remind us that our work is far from over.
We believe that our roads can become safer places, but only by raising the bar, requiring high safety standards and removing unsafe carriers, drivers, and vehicles from operating.
Administrator Ferro with her Canadian and Mexican counterparts
We’ve also taken swift action against an unprecedented number of unsafe bus companies.
This year, we developed and launched new training for an elite class of bus safety investigators who fanned out across the country in teams to investigate 250 high-risk companies.
With great success, the teams have delved into dangerous patterns of unsafe behavior and practices. And from February through August of this year, we placed 24 companies out of service--companies that violated regulations and jeopardized their passengers’ safety.
In addition, our recent two-week bus inspection strike force in all 50 states is paying big dividends by saving lives on our roadways and protecting people who travel by bus. We'll share the results of that strike force as soon as they become available.
Looking ahead, FMCSA is moving forward with a wide range of programs and policies in support of our safety-first mission.
We’re implementing a rule establishing a Unified Registration System (URS) for companies seeking DOT operating authority. It combines 16 different forms that carriers, freight forwarders, and brokers currently use to register and update their information with our agency into one single, automated electronic “smart form.”
This not only streamlines the registration process, but enables FMCSA to maintain more accurate information on the entities we regulate, which can help prevent so-called chameleon carriers from operating.
We’re also preparing a proposed rule to establish a Drug and Alcohol information system and require FMCSA-regulated motor carrier employers, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, and third party administrators supporting the DOT testing programs to report verified positive drug and alcohol test results, test refusals, negative return-to-duty test results, and information on follow-up testing.
And we continue to urge consumers and tour operators to become aware of how to make a safe choice each time they choose a bus company, and to understand that price should not be the only consideration when planning a trip by motorcoach. That’s why we launched the SaferBus App in 2012 and expanded it earlier this year for Droid users. If you're thinking about a a bus trip, please download SaferBus or visit our Passenger Carrier Safety website.
With the help of dedicated professionals and safety partners like CVSA, FMCSA is moving our transportation system to the next level of safety.
Anne Ferro is Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.