U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 24, 2000
Contact: Dave Longo
Secretary Slater Announces
Tough New Safety Rule For
Shutting Down Unfit Motor Carriers
Invoking law that gives
the U.S. Transportation Department tough enforcement power for improving safety,
U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced a major change to
the fitness procedures of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The
change will require all "unfit" motor carriers to improve or stop
operating their trucks and buses in interstate commerce.
"This rule will save
lives by applying our fitness standard to all large trucks, instead of only
passenger buses and trucks hauling hazardous materials," Secretary Slater
said. "This strong enforcement tool provided for by TEA-21 will help in our
efforts to reduce truck- and bus-related deaths by half in the next 10 years and
improve safety, which is President Clinton and Vice President Gore's highest
This action, a final rule
that becomes effective on Nov. 20, 2000, prohibits any motor carrier found to be
unfit from operating commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. It
applies powers provided by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st century
(TEA-21). Previously established motor carrier safety regulations provided
shutdown procedures only for passenger and hazardous material (HAZMAT) carriers
with unsatisfactory ratings.
Under this amended rule,
the FMCSA will consider an unsatisfactory safety rating a determination that a
carrier is unfit. An unsatisfactory safety rating means that a motor carrier
does not have adequate safety controls in place. These safety ratings are
assigned by safety investigators as a result of compliance reviews during which
federal regulatory violations are discovered and on-the-road performance factors
"This change provides
FMCSA powerful leverage to force unsafe carriers to comply with federal safety
regulations," FMCSA Acting Deputy Administrator Clyde J. Hart Jr. said.
Key features of the final
rule include the following:
Most motor carriers will
have 60 days after the FMCSA makes a determination of unfitness to improve their
safety fitness or cease operations. The agency may extend the compliance period
another 60 days only if the motor carrier is making a good faith effort to
improve its safety fitness.
Passenger and HAZMAT
carriers will continue to have 45 days to correct deficiencies.
The regulation will not
be applied retroactively. It applies only to motor carriers rated
unsatisfactory on or after the effective date of the final rule.
Carriers holding an
unsatisfactory rating at the time the rule becomes effective are not subject
to immediate shutdown. However, if, after a follow-up visit, the carrier
still is unfit as determined by a safety regulator, the new provisions will
Under a provision of
TEA-21, federal agencies will be prohibited from using a motor carrier to
provide interstate transportation if it has been rated unsatisfactory on or
after the effective date of a final rule.
The final rule was in the
Aug. 22, 2000 Federal Register under Docket No. OMCS-99-5467 (formerly Docket
No. FHWA-99-5467). This change was proposed in a Federal Register notice on Aug.
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