Proposed Bill to Revamp Safety Reporting
On March 16, Pennsylvania Representative Lou Barletta introduced House Resolution 1371, the Safer Trucks and Buses Act of 2015.
Under the proposed legislation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) must consider six critical areas of the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program, including the program's use of old information, potential for undue harm to small motor carriers, and accuracy of the program's underlying data.
In addition, the bill changes how CSA treats incidents. Currently, the CSA program weighs every reportable event against bus operators. If a drunk driver hits an operator, or a vehicle strikes a parked motorcoach, these incidents are weighed against the operator. The proposed legislation defines nine categories in which the carrier is not at fault within the CSA program. The legislation also requires FMCSA to distinguish carriers of passengers from carriers of freight, and address those differences within the CSA program. While the review and study process is moving forward, the public will still be able to see critical safety information, while other data will only be available to law enforcement.
The American Bus Association (ABA) supports this legislation. "The motorcoach industry's safety record has been built on professional drivers, well-maintained vehicles and companies that are passionate about safety. The federal and state inspection process should be based on accurate information so that the right carriers are targeted for enforcement action. Too often, carriers are subject to repeated inspections because of faulty data and a misguided, 'shotgun' approach to inspections. The overriding objective of industry and government must be to ensure the safety of the traveling public, which requires targeted action as part of an ongoing, national, uniform safety enforcement program."
The bill is currently in committee.