FMCSA Unveils New ‘Fitness’ Test for Granting, Revoking Commercial Operating Authority

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is raising the safety bar for interstate bus and truck companies with a new criteria for how it considers granting, withholding, revoking or suspending a company’s operating authority registration.

The campaign is called “Fit, Willing and Able” and went into effect Aug. 2. FMCSA said the program reinforces federal policy for not granting operating authority to companies “that create new identities or affiliate relationships to avoid negative safety history.” In the school bus industry, the guidelines only apply to certain private bus companies that engage in interstate highway travel. School districts and regular school bus service are exempt.

NSTA, which reviews federal policy as it applies to private school bus contractors, said FMCSA will evaluate at least a half-dozen factors when determining whether a motor carrier, freight forwarder or broker is willing and able to comply with applicable statutory or federal requirements.

These include:

  • The nature and extent of existing or past violations
  • The degree to which existing or past violations will affect, or have affected, the safety of operations, taking into account any crashes, deaths, or injuries associated with the violations
  • Whether existing or past regulatory or statutory violations are the result of a willful failure to comply with applicable requirements
  • The existence and nature of pending and closed enforcement actions
  • Whether adequate safety management controls exist to ensure acceptable compliance with applicable requirements
  • The existence of corrective action, if any

FMCSA said it will consider a driver’s or company’s attempts to correct past violations but only by providing relevant evidence. FMCSA must reject an application or withhold operating authority in writing, and anyone who is rejectted may appeal within 10 days, NSTA added. FMCSA will also take into consideration mitigating circumstances.