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National Implementation of the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program's Off-Site Safety Audit Procedures

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

National Implementation of the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program's Off-Site Safety Audit Procedures

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
June 29, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 124 (Monday, June 29, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37039-37040]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-15867]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No FMCSA-2013-0298]


National Implementation of the New Entrant Safety Assurance 
Program's Off-Site Safety Audit Procedures

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

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces the completion of its New Entrant Safety 
Assurance Program Operational Test (Operational Test) and the beginning 
of the national implementation of the Off-site Safety Audit Procedures. 
The Off-site Safety Audit Procedures allow FMCSA, and its Motor Carrier 
Safety Assurance Program State partners (State Partners), to complete 
an off-site audit of an eligible new entrant motor carrier whereby the 
new entrant motor carrier can demonstrate basic safety management 
controls by submitting compliance documentation to a safety auditor via 
electronic mail (email), fax, or U.S. mail rather than being subject to 
an on-site safety audit. FMCSA, working with its respective State 
partners, conducted an 18-month Operational Test of the Off-Site Safety 
Audit Procedures on new entrant motor carriers domiciled in the 
following six States: Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Montana, 
and New York; and the Canadian Provinces contiguous to Montana and New 
York. The Operational Test began July 15, 2013, and concluded on 
December 31, 2014. FMCSA will phase-in the implementation of the Off-
site Safety Audit Procedures on new entrant motor carriers in other 
states beginning in the summer of 2015 and continuing over the course 
of 36 months.

[[Page 37040]]


DATES: National implementation of the Off-site Safety Audit Procedures 
will begin in the summer of 2015 and continue over the next 36 months.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Joseph Bennett, Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration, Compliance Division, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, Telephone 202-365-8324, EMAIL: 
joseph.bennett@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Prior to October 1, 2013, 49 CFR part 385 subpart D required a 
safety audit within 18 months after a new entrant motor carrier began 
operations to determine if the carrier was exercising basic safety 
management controls. FMCSA and its State Partners conducted all new 
entrant safety audits at the motor carrier's principle place of 
business, which was time and labor intensive. The timeframe for 
conducting these safety audits was further limited by Section 32102 of 
the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) [Pub. L. 
112-141, 126 Stat. 405 (July 6, 2012)], which required FMCSA to 
complete safety audits within 12 months for property carriers and 
within 120 days for motorcoach passenger carriers. MAP 21's tightened 
deadlines, coupled with an increase in new entrant applicants, prompted 
FMCSA to develop a more efficient mechanism for conducting safety 
audits.
    On September 4, 2013, FMCSA published a notice in the Federal 
Register announcing the Operational Test (78 FR 54510). The Operational 
Test, which began in July 2013, allowed certain eligible new entrant 
motor carriers to submit compliance documentation to safety auditors 
either electronically, via email, or via fax. A safety auditor would 
then conduct the safety audit remotely, assessing the new entrant's 
safety performance and determining if it has adequate safety management 
practices pursuant to 49 CFR part 385, subpart D. New entrant carriers 
subject to off-site safety audits had the same regulatory requirements 
and privileges under 49 CFR part 385 subpart D as those carriers 
subject to on-site safety audits. New entrant motor carriers that 
transport either hazardous material or passengers were not eligible for 
an off-site safety audit. New entrant motor carriers with a known 
safety issue (i.e., received an expedited action notice pursuant to 49 
CFR 385.308 or had Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories 
(BASICs) scores above the Safety Measurement System thresholds) were 
also not eligible for an off-site safety audit.
    On September 9, 2014, FMCSA announced changes to the Operational 
Test (79 FR 53511). First, the Agency updated the IT systems so that 
when an automatic failure violation (as listed in 49 CFR 385.321) is 
identified by the Agency based on the records the motor carrier 
provides during the document submission process, the carrier will 
automatically fail the new entrant safety audit and be placed into the 
corrective action process. Second, the Agency extended the Operational 
Test through December 2014 to ensure sufficient data is available to 
calculate the established metrics in order to make an informed decision 
on any future actions.
    FMCSA monitored and evaluated 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 using several performance metrics. Additional 
information about the Operational Test is available at 
www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0298.
    Upon conclusion of the 18-month Operational Test, FMCSA determined 
that the data supported the effectiveness of the off-site procedures in 
determining the safety fitness of eligible new entrant carriers. The 
off-site procedures further allowed FMCSA to better meet the obligation 
of conducting safety audits on all new entrant carriers within the MAP-
21 timeframes. As a result, FMCSA is moving forward with the nationwide 
implementation of the Off-Site Safety Audit Procedures.
    Results from the 18-month Operational Test showed that:
     60 percent of new entrant carriers were eligible for, and 
received, off-site safety audits;
     The number of safety audits completed within the test 
states increased by 4 percent;
     Off-site safety audits take 33 percent less time to 
conduct than on-site safety audits;
     Off-site safety audits saved 58 percent on travel costs;
     Carriers identified for the less resource-intensive off-
site safety audit were performing well during subsequent roadside 
inspections; and,
     Post-safety audit carriers receiving off-site safety 
audits, on average, have equivalent or fewer 49 CFR 385.308 expedited 
actions and violation rates than carriers receiving an on-site safety 
audit.
    Based on the success of the Operational Test, FMCSA will begin 
national implementation of the Off-site Safety Audit Procedures for 
eligible new entrant motor carriers under the New Entrant Safety 
Assurance Program. Starting in the summer of 2015, FMCSA will phase in 
use of the off-site procedures as additional State Partners are able to 
be trained on the process, policy, and information technology system 
used in conducting an off-site safety audit. In the first phase, FMCSA 
will implement use of off-site new entrant safety audits in the 
following 11 States: Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North 
Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, 
Wyoming, and Washington, DC.
    Over the course of the next 36 months, FMCSA will continue to 
expand the program to FMCSA State Partners, and new entrant motor 
carriers domiciled in other states. FMCSA will provide a schedule on 
its public Web site at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/new-entrant-safety-assurance-program for the additional States implementing the 
Off-site Safety Audit Procedures. FMCSA anticipates completion of the 
nationwide expansion of the Off-Site Safety Audit Procedures by the 
summer of 2018. As the program expands eligible new entrant applicants 
will receive a written or verbal notice from FMCSA of their eligibility 
for the off-site safety audit with instructions on the Off-Site Safety 
Audit Procedures.

    Issued on: June 22, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2015-15867 Filed 6-26-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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