DOT Announces new Safety Fitness Determination Rule.



The DOT (Department of Transportation) recently announced their new Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) Notice of Proposed Rule-making (NOPRM) for Safety and Compliance. If the proposal gets approved it will have a significant impact on the trucking community.

As stated by US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, when discussing the safety fitness rating; “Ensuring that motor carriers are operating safely on our nation’s roadways is one of our highest priorities. Using all available information  to achieve more timely assessments will allow us to better identify unsafe companies and get them off the road.”

“This update to our methodology will help the agency focus on carriers with a higher crash risk,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Carriers that we identify as unfit to operate will be removed from our roadways until they improve.”

So what is the new proposal? The DOT would like to replace the current rating system, “Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory” with just one Safety Fitness rating of “Unfit”. A Carrier that is rated as Unfit, would then have the opportunity to fix the operations or be shut down by DOT.

This new proposal would be able to access 75,000 carriers per month. This is a huge jump from the current ability of 15,000 carriers annually.

What is it all about? What are the big differences?

•There would no longer be three safety ratings: satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory. Rather, there would only be one safety rating: “unfit.”

•Carriers would be assessed monthly, using fixed failure measures that are identified in the NPRM. Stricter standards would be used for those BASICS with a higher correlation to crash risk: Unsafe Driving and Hours of Service Compliance.

•Violations of a revised list of “critical” and “acute” safety regulations would result in failing a BASIC.

•All investigation results would be used, not just from comprehensive on-site reviews.

•A carrier could be proposed unfit by failing two or more BASICs through:


◦Investigation results

◦A combination of both

The carriers identified in the Agency’s analysis have crash rates that are more than three times the national average.

For more information on this, here is a link to the FMCSA. Also, if you would like to see how this will affect your company the FMCSA has created a calculator for your use.


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Mark Epperson, TRIP.

Mark Epperson, TRIP.
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