FMCSA chief sees safer, brighter future for truckers
Anne Ferro, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), delivered a speech earlier this year that covered a range of topics of interest to over-the-road professionals. Following are excerpts from her presentation:
“There is bright news on the economic front. We have seen jobs created in six of the last seven months. Excluding temporary census jobs, in the first five months of the year, the economy has created nearly half a million new jobs. Trucking is on the upswing. According to the American Trucking Associations, trucking tonnage grew 9.4 percent in April above last year's mark. This is the strongest monthly gain in more than five years.
“Orders for new big rig trailers rose 3 percent from 2009 levels, and the backlog at factories that build truck trailers rose to its highest level in 20 months as demand outstripped construction capability.
“Throughout the trucking/transportation sector, there is an increasing call for truck drivers, highly trained mechanics, logistics managers and other transportation specialists.
“Jobs and economic growth continue to be a priority for President Obama. He recently signed into law a jobs bill providing tax cuts for businesses that hire unemployed workers. Things are moving. We are making progress on the economic front.
“But with that uptick in truck and bus traffic comes more exposure to crash risks. As we experience growth in our economy we need to grow in our safety mission.
“My unique perspective as FMCSA Administrator is this: trucking is a vital part of our national economy. Our nation continues to count on keeping the flow of goods moving. An expansion of trucking is a very favorable sign to our economy. With a rising number of trucks on the road, however, as a nation, we cannot for a moment lessen our resolve on safety.
“Our mission at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is just that – safety – the safety of trucks and motorcoaches, the safety of those who are behind the wheel, and those who share the road with them.
“In meeting the challenges of our safety mission, I have laid out a strategic focus shaped by three core principles. The first is to raise the safety bar to enter the motor carrier industry. To do this, we have recently strengthened the new entrant safety assurance program to identify start-up truck and bus companies deficient in key areas. We have also put in place a vetting program to weed out unsafe motorcoach and household goods carriers who reincarnate to avoid sanctions. …
“The concept behind CSA 2010 is to give investigators the tools they need to be as effective and efficient as possible. CSA 2010 is a move away from the current one-size-fits-all compliance review approach to a more frequent examination of key factors linked to commercial motor vehicle crashes.”