The nation’s motorcoach operators scored a key regulatory victory this week with the announced withdrawal of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Carrier Safety Fitness Determination (SFD). The United Motorcoach Association prioritized this issue throughout 2016 and made it one of the centerpiece issues of last year’s Capitol Hill lobbying day for members, holding more than 400 meetings with federal legislators last April.
UMA not only filed vigorous comments with the agency against the "flawed proposal," but its lobbying efforts resulted in a provision being inserted in the FY 17 Department of Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill, prohibiting the proposal from being finalized. That bill is still pending.
Most recently, the association was part of a multi-industry coalition that sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urging the proposal to be withdrawn. That letter, signed by 62 national, state, and regional passenger and property carrier associations, was cited as one of the reasons for the withdrawal, in addition to the comments filed in the docket.
The proposed rule represented FMCSA’s attempt to change the bus and motorcoach operator rating system without first fixing the data upon which this system is based. In the FAST Act enacted by Congress in December of 2015, Congress, at the request of UMA and several other affected industries, directed that the agency implement significant reforms to the Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA)/Safety Measurement System programs. The first step in that reform process was a National Academy of Sciences study, which is still underway. In January of 2016, FMCSA proceeded to move forward with a proposal for a new safety fitness determination system built on the flawed CSA system that Congress had just directed them to overhaul.
“This regulatory win is a victory for the common-sense safety reform that our nation needs,” said Dale Krapf, chairman of the UMA and Krapf’s Coaches. “UMA thanks Secretary Chao and many Members of Congress who have helped us on this issue.”