Are You Unfit? #FMCSA New SFD #Regulations @thecargoexpert

Sam Tucker is the founder and CEO of Carrier Risk Solutions, Inc., an Atlanta, Georgia based transportation risk management startup. Prior to this venture, Sam spent 13 years underwriting trucking and logistics accounts at some of the most well known insurance companies. He holds degrees in Business Economics and Finance/Risk Management as well as multiple professional insurance designations. Carrier Risk Solutions' innovative safety management platform can be found online at Reach Sam by email at

 In January, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a rulemaking proposal designed to enhance the Agency’s ability to identify non­compliant motor carriers. 

The Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), would update FMCSA’s safety fitness rating methodology by integrating on­road safety data from inspections, along with the results of carrier investigations and crash reports, to determine a motor carrier’s overall safety fitness on a monthly basis.

 The proposed SFD rule would replace the current three­tier federal rating system of “satisfactory–conditional–unsatisfactory” for federally regulated commercial motor carriers (in place since 1982) with a single determination of “unfit,” which would require the carrier to either improve its operations or cease operations. 

Once in place, the SFD rule will permit FMCSA to assess the safety fitness of approximately 75,000 companies a month! By comparison, the agency is only currently able to investigate 15,000 motor carriers annually – with less than half of those companies actually receiving a safety rating.

The proposed methodology would determine when a carrier is not fit to operate commercial motor vehicles in or affecting interstate commerce based on:

1.      The carrier’s performance in relation to a fixed failure threshold established in the rule for five of the agency’s ehavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs);

2.     Investigation results; or

3.     A combination of on­road safety data and investigation information.


Failure of a BASIC based on either crash data or compliance with drug and alcohol requirements would only occur following a comprehensive investigation. 

FMCSA estimates that under this proposal, less than 300 motor carriers each year would be proposed as “unfit” solely as a result of on­road safety violations. Further, the agency’s analysis has shown that the carriers identified through this on­road safety data have crash rates of almost four times the national average. 

The FMCSA has extended the original comment window and encourages the public to review the NPRM and to submit comments. Afet the public comment period is closed, the FMCSA will also beproviding a reply comment period and then the regulations will be on its way to final publication. 

For more information on FMCSA’s Safety Fitness Determination proposed rule, including a full copy of the NPRM, an instructional webinar, and a Safety Fitness Determination Calculator, visit To comment on the rule once it is published in the Federal Register, please use www.regulations.go and docket number FMCSA­2015­0001.