With FMCSA’s recent implementation of new push-notification functionality in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, STC believes it is time to revive the conversation about doing the same for updates to driver MVRs. Currently, 19 states have a service to provide employers with proactive push notifications when there are changes to a driver’s history record. While this is good progress, it is time to create a nationwide employer notification service (ENS) that encompasses all commercial drivers.
As our conversations often go, motor carriers are continuously looking for tools and a means with which to improve driver performance. Many carriers are employing different technology solutions—everything from driving simulators to Dashcams—to aid driver training and coaching. For many, these advancements are having measurable positive impacts on safety. FMCSA research indicates that for every dollar a fleet spends on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, they save $5.09. In addition, the American Transportation Research Institute’s latest “Crash Predictor Study” offers clarity on the types of driving behaviors that are leading drivers to have future crashes.
A nationwide employer notification service would provide clear benefits to safe operations as it would provide more timely information to carriers of driver infractions, so corrective actions can be developed and implemented more quickly than what is the case today. STC believes a national ENS should be added into DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy, and FMCSA should be tasked to work with the States to implement it. Indeed, years ago FMCSA took a detailed look into this — to include developing an ENS Best Practices Document — which involved the SDLAs. One key factoid from this work is noted here:
“Without an automated system to notify motor carriers of driver violations and changes in license status, the current requirement for motor carriers to check annually results in a safety risk. In fact, FMCSA’s “National Driver Record Notification System Report to Congress,” issued in September 2015, noted that suspended drivers have a crash rate that is 14 times higher than other drivers across all vehicle types.”
Given the information above, STC wonders why nothing is mentioned in AAMVA’s March 2023 CDL Driver History Record Best Practices Guide on employer notification service programs. With the increase in funding coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in our view this plus up in funds could be put to good use for this purpose.
With the advent of nuclear verdicts, increasing insurance rates, and the rise in fatalities STC believes it is time to move on a nationwide ENS system. While it will not be easy to implement with the States, this is a relatively low-cost/low-effort option for fleets, and if we are to make a significant dent in pushing down the crash numbers, we can’t afford not to do it.