For the Record, Driver Violation Report Requirement Should Hit the Circular File

By Dave Osiecki & Sean Garney of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting LLC & Regulatory Consultants to DriverReach – January, 2021 

In December 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed eliminating the requirement that drivers submit an annual record of violations report to the motor carrier (Sec 391.27 of the FMCSRs). In the proposal, FMCSA reasons that the rule is duplicative of the longstanding annual motor vehicle record (MVR) check rule, is prone to errors in driver memory, and is merely a compliance-related paper chase for carrier personnel. They’re right.

The annual record of violations requirement may have been a decent idea in 1970 when it was first included in the rule book, but that was before State licensing agencies could track and record interstate CMV driver convictions no matter where they occurred. Since 1998, carriers have been required to obtain an MVR on its drivers annually, though many have been doing it far longer. With the improved accuracy of state MVRs, many carriers are no longer seeing value in the driver-completed record of violations, and are sick of the administrative hassle of something that provides little, if any, safety value.

FMCSA should take it a step further however and update long standing guidance to allow motor carriers who are enrolled in an employee notification system that pushes updates to carriers when data is added, removed or changed on a driver’s MVR, to substitute for the annual MVR requirement. The benefit of these systems far outweighs the benefit of an annual MVR rule considering a new conviction added to a drivers record just after the annual MVR pull could remain undiscovered by the carrier until their next MVR pull, almost a year later.

If you agree, and I’d bet many of you do, it’s time to speak up. FMCSA is accepting comments to this proposal until February 12, 2021. Commenting is easy, simply click this link and type out your thoughts.

Don’t think your voice matters? Think again. When FMCSA proposed eliminating the application for employment two years ago, the industry reminded FMCSA of how valuable the information provided by the application is to the driver-applicant screening process, and FMCSA dropped the idea. 

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