FMCSA has a difficult job–it is tasked with reducing CMV crashes by monitoring 550,000 motor carriers and nearly 7 million CMV drivers. It is a herculean task. But FMCSA is not on an island. Let’s face it, motor carriers themselves are best equipped to improve safety. Meaning, FMCSA’s most effective crash reduction tactic should be promoting safety and equipping the industry with the tools they need to improve safety.
Here are a few examples STC believes would help foster an even more productive partnership:
- Promote important research to improve understanding of key safety principles – Recently, FMCSA quietly released two studies it was involved with. One was on pre-employment driver screening best practices and another on driver safety risk factors. Stronger promotion and ‘marketing’ of the study findings, would encourage industry adoption and pay immediate safety dividends.
- Allow industry access to eRODS to audit ELD logs – eRODS software has made it easier for FMCSA and State agencies to audit hours of service records by leveraging powerful algorithms to identify possible discrepancies for closer evaluation. Tens of thousands of carrier safety and compliance staff are also tasked with auditing HOS records. Access to eRODS would greatly facilitate this and go a long way toward building a strong industry-government partnership.
- Allow industry to help with emerging projects – Two examples come to mind. First is FMCSA’s missed opportunity to invite industry practitioners in to test drive the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse before it was rolled-out. Second is FMCSA’s investigation of IRT as a possible replacement methodology for CSA. Industry expertise would be invaluable in calibrating any new CSA methodology, before it’s rolled out. In both examples, industry collaboration yields two byproducts: 1) an improved product or service that more effectively meets its objectives, and 2) stronger industry buy-in that could potentially avert criticism that often accompanies new government programs.
A strong safety culture requires partnership, transparency, and accountability. Both FMCSA and the industry are important players in the safety game. Safety would be the beneficiary if we more often played on the same team.