An organization of commercial vehicle inspectors is urging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reign in the number of exemptions allowed to motor carriers, saying they are creating “confusion and inconsistency in enforcement.”
Collin Mooney, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), sent a letter to the FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez expressing his concern with the excessive exemptions and their impact on the ability of inspectors to accurately and efficiently perform their jobs.
The CVSA, which represents more than 4,000 commercial vehicle inspectors in North America, also suggested the exemptions could erode highway safety.
“Since 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued nearly 50 exemptions to motor carriers, waiving regulatory requirements for certain segments of the transportation industry. This is in addition to the dozens of legislative and regulatory exemptions already in place,” Mr. Mooney’s letter to the FMCSA stated, according to Transportation Topics. “
“Over the last two years, the agency has issued a number of exemptions from the electronic logging device requirement, a critical safety requirement designed to help combat fatigue on our nation’s roadways and designed to level the playing field for motor carriers seeking to operate safely within the hours-of-service rules,” the letter stated.
According to Transportation Topics, the letters asks the FMCSA to give “CVSA and its state and local partners a seat at the table” in the process of deciding what and how carriers can be exempted from safety regulations.
“This issue is further complicated when motor carriers are made aware of an exemption before the enforcement community, setting up a scenario where conflict may arise roadside when a driver and company have communication from the agency indicating they are exempt, but the enforcement community is unaware,” CVSA’s letter said, according to Transportation Topics.
Mr. Mooney said the CVSA opposes regulatory exemptions except when a commercial carrier can “can “demonstrate that there is a proven, critical need and provide assurances that an equivalent level of safety will be attained.”
“In short, exemptions should be the exception, not the rule,” he said.