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New Entrant Safety Assurance Program Operational Test

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

New Entrant Safety Assurance Program Operational Test

Anne S. Ferro
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
September 4, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 171 (Wednesday, September 4, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54510-54512]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-21442]



[[Page 54510]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0298]


New Entrant Safety Assurance Program Operational Test

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
announces an operational test of procedural changes to the New Entrant 
Safety Assurance Program. The operational test began in July 2013 and 
will be in effect for up to 12 months. It is applicable to new entrant 
motor carriers domiciled in the States of California, Florida, 
Illinois, Montana, New York and the Canadian Provinces contiguous to 
Montana and New York. The operational test procedures allow FMCSA to 
complete an off-site safety audit of eligible new entrant motor 
carriers that can demonstrate basic safety management controls by 
submitting compliance documentation as requested by FMCSA. The purpose 
of the operational test is to compare off-site and on-site new entrant 
safety audits in terms of resource allocation and subsequent safety 
performance of new entrant motor carriers.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Bryan Price, Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Administration, 1000 Liberty Avenue, Suite 1300, Pittsburgh, PA 
15222, telephone: (412) 395-4816, email: bryan.price@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 210(a) of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 
[Pub. L. 106-159, 113 Stat. 1748, December 9, 1999] (MCSIA), mandates 
that the Secretary of Transportation establish regulations to require 
each motor carrier owner and operator granted new operating authority 
registration to undergo a safety review within 18 months of starting 
interstate operations. [49 U.S.C. 31144(g)]. In issuing these 
regulations, the Secretary was required to: (1) Establish the elements 
of the safety review, including basic safety management controls; (2) 
consider their effects on small businesses; and (3) consider 
establishing alternate locations where such reviews may be conducted 
for the convenience of small businesses.
    In response to the statutory mandate in MCSIA, FMCSA published an 
interim final rule titled, ``New Entrant Safety Assurance Process'' on 
May 13, 2002 (67 FR 31978), which became effective January 1, 2003. 
Subpart D of 49 CFR part 385 requires a safety audit within 18 months 
after a new entrant motor carrier begins operations to determine if the 
carrier is exercising basic safety management controls. On December 16, 
2008 (73 FR 76472), the regulations were strengthened to raise the 
standard for passing a new entrant safety audit and to establish 
procedures for expedited action if certain violations are discovered 
during a roadside inspection while a motor carrier is in the new 
entrant program.
    The 2008 final rule required compliance beginning on December 16, 
2009. These strengthened regulations maintained the requirement to 
conduct a safety audit within 18 months of beginning interstate 
operations. By policy, FMCSA has also implemented more stringent safety 
audit completion deadlines for new entrant passenger carriers, 
requiring that they receive a safety audit within 9 months of beginning 
interstate operations.
    Congress significantly tightened the deadlines for completion of 
new entrant safety audits. Section 32102 of the Moving Ahead for 
Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) [Pub. L. 112-141, 126 Stat. 
778 (July 6, 2012)] requires new entrant motor carriers to ``undergo a 
safety review not later than 12 months'' after beginning interstate 
operations, and within 120 days for certain passenger carriers [49 
U.S.C. 31144(g)(1)]. Section 32102 has an effective date of October 1, 
2013.

Need for a More Efficient New Entrant Safety Assurance Process

    Under the current New Entrant Safety Assurance Program, 
approximately 34,000 safety audits are conducted annually. Significant 
FMCSA resources are required to travel to each motor carrier's 
principal place of business to conduct these safety audits. As 
presented in the table below, the vast majority of the safety audits 
have been completed within the 18-month statutory guideline previously 
established by Congress. However, the number of new entrant motor 
carriers entering the program continues to grow each year and FMCSA's 
ability to complete all new entrant safety audits is significantly 
impacted by the more stringent MAP-21 deadlines.
    The table below (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/art-safety-progress-report.htm) also indicates that approximately 70 
percent of new entrant motor carriers pass their safety audit each year 
by demonstrating basic safety management controls in the areas of 
driver qualifications, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, accident 
register, and controlled substances and alcohol use and testing. Unless 
roadside inspection results have indicated evidence of a violation 
requiring expedited action as described in 49 CFR 385.308, or a pattern 
of poor inspections severe enough to place the carrier in the high-risk 
category, the primary consideration for prioritizing safety audits is 
the number of months since the new entrant motor carrier received its 
USDOT Number. The Agency currently devotes the same resources in travel 
costs and staff time to on-site reviews of low-risk and higher-risk new 
entrant motor carriers.
    The FMCSA believes there are opportunities to increase efficiency 
within the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program in a manner that will 
enhance safety and improve the Agency's ability to meet the more 
stringent MAP-21 safety audit deadlines.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             FY 2010      FY 2011      FY 2012
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New Entrant Safety Audits Conducted......................................       34,140       34,276       34,349
Percentage of New Entrants That Pass the Safety Audit....................        72.6%        65.0%        74.1%
Percentage of New Entrant Safety Audits Completed within Statutory/Policy        92.5%        87.2%        88.3%
 Timeframes..............................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operational Test of Procedural Changes

    FMCSA began the operational test of procedural changes to the New 
Entrant Safety Assurance Program in July 2013. These alternate 
procedures apply to new entrant motor carriers domiciled in the States 
of California, Florida, Illinois, Montana, and New York. In addition, 
FMCSA staff based in Montana and New York are using these procedures to 
conduct safety audits on the Canadian new entrant motor carriers 
domiciled in the Provinces contiguous to their States. There will be no 
regulatory relief provided during the operational test, and the test is 
being carried out in

[[Page 54511]]

accordance with existing regulations in subpart D of 49 CFR part 385.
    During the test, certain motor carriers are automatically flagged 
for an on-site new entrant safety audit at their principal place of 
business, as is current practice. These motor carriers include: 
Passenger carriers, carriers with evidence of roadside inspection 
activity while transporting a placardable quantity of hazardous 
materials; motor carriers with one or more Safety Measurement System 
(SMS) Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) 
measurement above FMCSA's intervention threshold; and motor carriers 
with evidence of an expedited action violation as described in 49 CFR 
385.308.
    All other new entrant motor carriers will be contacted by letter 
and asked to electronically submit legible copies of documentation to a 
new entrant safety audit Web site (http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/newentrant). 
The requested documentation allows FMCSA to initiate the safety audit 
process remotely off-site through verification of compliance with basic 
safety management controls related to driver qualification, driver duty 
status, vehicle maintenance, the accident register, and controlled 
substances and alcohol use and testing consistent with 49 CFR 385.311.
    The letter describes requested documents and explains that 
submission of these documents preclude the need for a safety audit at 
the new entrant carrier's place of business. In addition, the letter 
explains that failure to submit the requested documentation or failure 
to respond to the letter will be treated as a refusal to undergo a 
safety audit and could constitute a failure to permit the safety audit 
in accordance with 49 CFR 385.337(b), which could result in revocation 
of the carrier's registration and issuance of an order prohibiting 
interstate operations. Carriers who are unable to submit the requested 
documentation may submit an explanation in writing to FMCSA within 10 
days from the service date of FMCSA's request.
    A new entrant safety auditor subsequently reviews the submitted 
documentation and either:
    (1) Prepares a report to document that the motor carrier has passed 
the new entrant safety audit;
    (2) Contacts the motor carrier to request additional documentation; 
or
    (3) Schedules a safety audit at the motor carrier's principal place 
of business as soon as practicable, based upon violations observed in 
the submitted documentation.
    FMCSA believes that these test procedures will more efficiently 
verify the safety status of new entrant carriers, resulting and allow 
the Agency to better utilize its resources for on-site safety audits of 
higher-risk (e.g., passenger and HM) carriers, and carriers that are 
non-compliant. The test procedure will also provide a more effective 
process for those unable or unwilling to provide the requested 
documents. These test procedures will help the Agency meet the MAP-21 
safety audit deadlines.
    This table shows how the new entrant operational test differs from 
the current new entrant safety audit process:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN04SE13.000

Test Metrics

    FMCSA will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, 
innovation, and flexibility of the operational test procedures in 
contrast to the current new entrant safety assurance program during and 
after the test through examination of several performance metrics. The 
metrics may include but are not limited to:

Effectiveness Metrics

     Crash rates.
     Roadside inspection violation and out-of-service (OOS) 
rates.
     Motor carrier SMS scores.
     Expedited Action violation rates.
     Safety audit failure rates and number of processed 
corrective action plans (CAPs) submitted by carriers following failed 
safety audits.

Efficiency Metrics

     Total safety audits performed.
     Time elapsed between entry into the new entrant program 
and completion of a safety audit.
     Time required to conduct a safety audit.
     Number and percentage of past-due safety audits.
     Total travel costs.
     Total travel time.

[[Page 54512]]

Innovation Metrics

     New entrant Web site use.
     Ease of document submission as determined by the number 
and percentage of carriers that submit documentation electronically.

Flexibility Metrics

     Number and percentage of safety audits that had to be 
converted to the motor carrier's principal place of business.
     Reason for conversion to a safety audit at the motor 
carrier's principal place of business.

    Issued On: August 27, 2013.
Anne S. Ferro,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-21442 Filed 9-3-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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