A lot has been said about the good things included in, and the bad things excluded from, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed by President Biden late last year. Sadly no one is talking about the good things that did not make it into the IIJA. One glaring exclusion was the absence of Miranda’s Law, a bill intended to compel FMCSA to establish an Employer Notification Service (ENS).
The concept of a national ENS system has been contemplated for nearly 20 years but more recently has lost momentum. STC believes it’s time to wake this sleeping giant because ENS systems save lives. FMCSA’s 2005 feasibility study found a nationwide ENS would provide a return on investment of 15:1 and pay for itself in less than a year. A follow-on pilot program in Colorado and Minnesota also supported that evidence. In fact, a 2015 FMCSA report to Congress noted that suspended drivers have a crash rate 14 times higher than other drivers. Providing this push service to the industry clearly has both economic and safety vaule.
Over 38,000 deaths occurred on our highways in 2020, 4,895 from large truck crashes. While we all are acutely aware that while the industry has challenges finding and keeping good drivers, it is even more important that the drivers we do have are safe. Providing trucking companies with a tool that notifies them when a driver is no longer eligible to operate a CMV would provide instant safety benefits. However, despite their proven effectiveness, ENS implementation at the State level has been slow. FMCSA’s 2018 ENS Best Practices and Recommendations show that only 18 States have an ENS system consistent with FMCSA standards and guidelines.
STC is hoping that, despite the exclusion of Miranda’s Law from IIJA, the additional grant money authorized through the IIJA will rekindle the vigor for nationwide ENS implementation so we can help the motor carrier industry drive the fatality numbers down. Given where we are with large truck crashes and fatalities and the recent passage of the Highway Bill in Congress, we think it is time to urge FMCSA and the states to renew their focus on the development and use of ENS.