Commercial motor vehicles are a common sight on the nation’s highways, including here in Minnesota. Trucks and buses are an integral part of the transportation system that moves goods and passengers efficiently all over the country. To address the importance of safety in this industry, Congress created a regulatory agency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2000. The FMCSA recently published a new strategic plan for the next five years, aimed at an ambitious goal of zero commercial vehicle accidents and deaths in the future.
The FMCSA’s plan is built on three principles that it has stressed consistently since its current administrator took over in 2009:
- “Raise the bar” with more stringent requirements for new commercial bus and truck companies seeking to join the industry
- Keep safety standards high for companies wishing to remain in the industry
- Remove commercial carriers from business if they have been shown to be high-risk
Always with those principles in mind, the agency has four focus areas within its plan. A prominent area is its “Safety 1st Culture” program. This program reinforces the basic principles by issuing safety regulations and following up with strong enforcement-including the removal of carriers which do not comply.
Another promising focus of the FMCSA’s plan is its “One FMCSA” approach. This approach will focus on managing agency programs and personnel effectively and efficiently, to encourage innovative solutions in a diverse workforce environment.
A third focus is using technology to collect and analyze performance data and distribute the results to all involved with commercial vehicle operations. The aim is to identify risks accurately and implement safety programs faster.
Finally, the FMCSA will coordinate a network of everyone who has a stake in commercial vehicle safety, especially reaching out to educators to promote safety. This focus has been termed “Exponential Safety Power.”
Minnesotans can join other Americans in the hope that safety will grow exponentially on the nation’s highways, as commercial vehicle companies aim to reduce accidents over the plan’s five years.