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State Grants (Title IV)








Information Systems
(Title IV)








Public Education (Title II)








ITS/CVO (Title V)








School Transportation
Safety Study (Title IV)




$ 0.2M

$ 0.2M



Program Purpose

The National Motor Carrier Safety Program (NMCSP) is restructured to focus on strategic safety investments, increased flexibility for grantees by eliminating earmarks, strengthened Federal and State enforcement capabilities, and greater administrative flexibility to promote innovative approaches to improving motor carrier safety. States will have the opportunity to invest in areas of the greatest crash reduction based on their own circumstances. Additional emphasis is given to targeting unsafe carriers and improving information systems and analysis that underlies all national motor carrier safety activities.

Program Structure/Funding

Restructures the NMCSP into two major categories:

Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (State Grants)[4003]

Information Systems [4004]

Establishes a permanent funding source for information and analysis. Funds may be used for grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts. This program will fund:

In addition are programs specifically funded from other sources—

Strengthening Enforcement Capabilities and Improving Compliance

In addition Title IV amends other provisions in the motor carrier statutes. Noteworthy changes are shown below.

Imposes a Mandatory Shutdown Provision On All Unfit Carriers—Strengthens the authority of the Secretary to order unsafe motor carriers to cease commercial motor vehicle operations by extending the existing out-of-service order authority to all motor carriers failing to meet Federal safety fitness requirements. Under the new provision, all motor carriers of property not already covered that fail to meet safety fitness requirements would have 60 days to improve before being prohibited from operating in interstate commerce. [4009]

Implementation Plan for Shippers, Brokers, and Others—Requires the Secretary to assess the scope of the problem of shippers and others that encourage violations of safety regulations. An implementation plan may be developed to identify the mechanisms and procedures that would be followed (if Congress subsequently provided authority) to enforce compliance by shippers, brokers, freight forwarders, consignees, and others with the motor carrier safety regulations. [4026]

Civil Penalties—Restructures the penalty provisions to enhance their effectiveness and establish a maximum penalty for all non-recordkeeping violations of the safety regulations of up to $10,000. The maximum fines and penalties would be more consistent with the safety penalties of other modes. [4015]

Commercial Motor Vehicle DefinedAmends the definition of commercial motor vehicle to take into account the actual gross vehicle weight of a vehicle rather than just the gross vehicle weight rating. This change is intended to stop evasion of safety regulations by those purchasing vehicles with weight ratings below the level at which the safety regulations apply, but hauling above that threshold. [4011,4003,4008]

Safety Performance Records and a Limitation on Liability—Limits the liability of persons complying with regulations issued by the Secretary regarding the furnishing and use of driver safety performance records. Regulations soon to be promulgated will require motor carriers to request records showing the safety performance history of drivers they plan to hire from the former motor carrier employers of that driver. In addition, these regulations are to require former employers to furnish the requested information. Willingness to comply with these new requirements may be constrained by the potential liability and the new requirement is designed to limit that liability while protecting the driver’s rights and privacy. [4014]

New Procedures for Waivers and Exemptions—Revises the authority of the Secretary to issue waivers and exemptions from safety regulations and Commercial Drivers’ License requirements. Waivers may be granted for a period of up to 3 months duration and have a limited scope. Exemptions could be granted for a period of up to 2 years. Establishes procedures for exemption pilot programs to demonstrate whether a new requirement should become a regulation, whether performance under existing regulation is effective, and whether alternative methods can produce the same safety benefit with less regulatory burden. Safety prerequisites for exemptions and pilot programs are outlined in the provision as well as public notice and comment requirements. [4007]

Telephone Hotline for Drivers—Establishes a commercial motor vehicle driver hotline to report potential violations of safety regulations. [4017]

Special Studies and New Rulemakings—Includes, among other things, studies on:

September 14, 1998

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