Many of us have had the experience of searching for something on the internet and finding something different…something interesting or useful, and perhaps completely unexpected. STC staff recently had this experience when we found a treasure trove of safety outreach and awareness materials on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website. We discovered FMCSA’s All Our Roads, Our Safety Campaigns” webpage and were pleasantly surprised to find a cornucopia of outreach and awareness materials, along with supporting facts and data, designed to target important safety topics and critical highway safety challenges.

This part of FMCSA’s site contains “General Safe Driving Resources,” including tips and facts for driving safely around CMVs, tips for bicyclists and pedestrians, and safety advice designed for CMV drivers. But it doesn’t stop there–not by a longshot. These outreach/campaign materials also tackle specific highway safety challenges like speeding, distracted driving, operating in hazardous weather, highway work zone safety, CMV driver seat belt use, and CMV driver health & safety. The resources for many of these topics include print materials, shareable graphics, postcards, specific messages for various audiences, and even some suggested social media posts/messages. It probably goes without saying at this point, but STC recommends that motor carrier staff access and consider using these resources to help spread safety messages to drivers and with other highway users as opportunities arise.

These newly discovered FMCSA resources point to FMCSA’s improved capabilities in the education and awareness arena, and in its data collection and reporting transparency. Think back to a few years ago when the Agency launched the long-awaited National Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse (DACH). FMCSA not only needed to set up a national database for hundreds of thousands of industry users, but it also needed to help educate drivers and fleet personnel on how and when to register, the different driver consent processes, the reportable and non-reportable data, etc. And the Agency also realized it needed to transparently report DACH data on a regular basis. This was a huge lift for FMCSA, as well as for the industry, and it was this DACH process when we believe FMCSA realized it needed to raise it education and outreach capabilities, and its commitment to data transparency. While there were a few bumps on the road to full implementation of DACH, it was a watershed moment for FMCSA on how to successfully implement a new national program.

More recently, FMCSA has demonstrated its improved program outreach capabilities, and its regular and transparent data reporting, with the successful implementation of the Crash Preventability Determination Program, and the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program. Even longstanding programs like the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, and exemption requests from the industry, are benefiting from the Agency’s commitment to improved transparency and the use of new data visualization tools.

While regulatory development, industry oversight and enforcement will continue to be an important part of FMCSA’s mission, it seems to STC that FMCSA’s improved programmatic and education/outreach capabilities are helping it evolve from a ‘regulatory’ agency into a more well-rounded ‘safety’ organization. We hope this evolution continues.