Carrier Safety Fitness Determination, 14848-14850 [2017-05777]

Download as PDF 14848 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 55 / Thursday, March 23, 2017 / Proposed Rules ppm; and vegetable, fruiting, group 8–10 at 1.0 ppm. Practical analytical methods for detecting and measuring levels of clethodim have been developed and validated in/on all appropriate agricultural commodities and respective processing fractions. The Limit of Quantitation (LOQ) of clethodim in the methods is 0.2 ppm, which will allow monitoring of food with residues at the levels proposed for the tolerances. Contact: RD. Amended Tolerance Exemptions 1. PP 6G8523. (EPA–HQ–OPP–2014– 0457). J.R. Simplot Company, 5369 W. Irving St., Boise, ID 83706, requests to amend an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance in 40 CFR 174.534 for residues of the plantincorporated protectant (PIP) VNT1 protein in or on potato. The petitioner believes no analytical method is needed for enforcement purposes because the VNT1 protein concentration is lower than the detectable limit of 100 parts per billion (ppb) in tubers. As the expression levels of the VNT1 protein are below detection limits, it is impractical to demonstrate methods for detecting and measuring the levels of the pesticide residues. Contact: BPPD. Authority: 21 U.S.C. 346a. Dated: January 11, 2017. Michael Goodis, Acting Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs. carrier’s on-road safety data; an investigation; or a combination of onroad safety data and investigation information. FMCSA had recently announced that, rather than move to a final rule, a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) would be the next step in the rulemaking process. However, after reviewing the record in this matter, FMCSA withdraws the NPRM and cancels the plans to develop a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The Agency must receive the Correlation Study from the National Academies of Science, as required by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, assess whether and, if so, what corrective actions are advisable, and complete additional analysis before determining whether further rulemaking action is necessary to revise the safety fitness determination process. The NPRM ‘‘Carrier Safety Fitness Determination,’’ RIN 2126– AB11, published on January 21, 2016 (81 FR 3562), is withdrawn as of March 23, 2017. DATES: Ms. Barbara Baker, (202) 366–3397, barbara.baker@dot.gov. FMCSA office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: On January 21, 2016, FMCSA published an NPRM proposing revisions to the BILLING CODE 6560–50–P current methodology for issuance of a SFD for motor carriers as required by 49 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION U.S.C. 31144 (81 FR 3562). The essential elements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety proposed rule included determining Administration safety fitness from not only a comprehensive compliance 49 CFR Parts 350, 365, 385, 386, 387, investigation, but also considering and 395 roadside inspections data. Adding roadside inspections to the proposal [Docket No. FMCSA–2015–0001] included a minimum number of RIN 2126–AB11 inspections and violations to be used for the SFD, as well as providing failure Carrier Safety Fitness Determination standards, and elimination of the AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety current three-tier rating system (i.e., Administration (FMCSA), DOT. satisfactory—conditional— unsatisfactory). Also, the NPRM ACTION: Notice of withdrawal. proposed revising the SFD appeals SUMMARY: FMCSA withdraws its January process and establishing 21, 2016, notice of proposed rulemaking implementation and transition (NPRM), which proposed a revised provisions for a final rule. methodology for issuance of a safety The Agency received 153 initial fitness determination (SFD) for motor comment period submissions and 17 carriers. The new methodology would reply comment period submissions in have determined when a motor carrier response to the NPRM. After is not fit to operate commercial motor considering the comments, FMCSA vehicles (CMVs) in or affecting announced that, rather than move to a interstate commerce based on the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS [FR Doc. 2017–05704 Filed 3–22–17; 8:45 am] VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 final rule, a SNPRM would be the next step in the rulemaking process.1 NPRM Comments Generally Elimination of Three Tier Rating System and Scope of FMCSA Rating Obligation In the NPRM, FMCSA proposed to eliminate the current three ratings of satisfactory, conditional and unsatisfactory. Instead, the Agency proposed only one rating of ‘‘unfit.’’ Commenters including John Brannum, C.H. Robinson, Greyhound Lines, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), Road Safe America, Truck Safety Coalition and the American Association for Justice supported the termination of the three-tier rating system. These commenters supported the fact that this change would not allow conditional carriers to operate without improving their operations and would make it much clearer for the shipping community to determine which carriers may or may not operate. Specifically, C. H. Robinson noted it has long recommended a two-tiered structure that more clearly signals to shippers, and other industry stakeholders, which carriers should not be hired due to safety concerns. It said all stakeholders seek clear direction from FMCSA, and FMCSA desires stakeholders to properly use data collected by FMCSA. David Gee, an owner of a motor carrier and a broker, commented that the Agency should use the rulemaking to affirm that the shipper and broker community can rely upon the agency’s ultimate safety fitness determination in making carrier selections free from state law negligence suits. Greyhound stated it agrees that the change will do away with the misperception that a ‘‘satisfactory’’ rating is a sign of operational approval. However, commenters including the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), Minnesota Trucking Association, School Bus, Inc., National School Transportation Association, and the American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA), opposed the proposed change. ATA wrote that the proposal to remove the term ‘‘safety rating’’ may have negative, perhaps unanticipated, consequences. Specifically, ATA explained that there will be no means to distinguish fleets whose safety management controls have been verified during compliance reviews (i.e. those labeled 1 See ‘‘FMCSA Sets Schedule for Safety Fitness Determination—Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,’’ January 12, 2017, at https:// www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/fmcsa-sets-schedulesafety-fitness-determination-supplemental-noticeproposed-rulemaking. E:\FR\FM\23MRP1.SGM 23MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 55 / Thursday, March 23, 2017 / Proposed Rules sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS ‘‘Satisfactory’’) from fleets that have not been reviewed. Second, there will be no means to separate fleets with documented deficiencies (i.e. those labeled ‘‘Conditional’’) from all other fleets not labeled ‘‘Unfit.’’ In addition to the inequity this creates for fleets that have earned a ‘‘Satisfactory’’ rating, ATA believes it does a disservice to third parties and the general public who should be alerted to the fleets with documented problems. ATA also proposed that FMCSA should allow fleets that have been investigated to maintain their satisfactory ratings; this idea was echoed by NMFTA and the Intermodal Association of North America. Further, ATA suggested that FMCSA consider three labels: Assessed—Unfit, Assessed—Not Unfit, and Not Assessed. ATA noted that a tiered naming convention such as this could help eliminate confusion and leave third parties better informed. Some commenters also asserted that FMCSA, contrary to the position expressed in the NPRM, had a statutory duty to determine the fitness of all motor carriers, not just those that are unfit. These commenters claimed that the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 31144 require such actions. Failure Standards Advocates expressed concern that, as proposed, one of the assessment methods would only reach the worst 1 percent or 4 percent of carriers, depending on the various categories. Advocates believe that the failure standards were ‘‘artificially selected’’ based on the Agency’s resources ‘‘instead of making safety the highest priority.’’ Advocates recommended that the SFD process should identify each and every motor carrier that is unsafe and needs to be determined ‘‘Unfit.’’ Contrarily, to support the Agency’s proposal, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters offered that the Agency should only be expected to determine the safety fitness of as many carriers as possible, given existing resources. Advocates further commented that if the agency plans to use the absolute performance measure based on a snapshot of data to establish the thresholds, there must be a plan to continually update this data to encourage improvements in safety on par with increases in on-road safety, both within the industry and on-road in general. Knight Transportation agreed with the Agency’s proposal that carrier fitness should not be based on relative peer performance. NMFTA added that the assignment of absolute failure standards VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 for the individual categories would provide a carrier with a better method to track and assess its safety compliance based on the roadside inspections, and sooner identify an area which might require additional attention. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters noted that, under the proposed methodology, carriers will benefit from being judged solely on their own performance rather than other companies’ safety performance. Intermodal Association of North America also believes that moving to an absolute measurement approach is an improved method over the existing, relative measurements of the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability program. The American Bus Association questioned how FMCSA can issue a regulatory proposal to change the long standing safety fitness determination process for motor carriers, without providing the failure standards in the NPRM. C.H. Robinson commended the decision to move away from a percentile ranking and establish firm, fixed safety data targets as represented by the ‘‘absolute measure’’ thresholds that began to be published in August 2014. C.H. Robinson found, however, that FMCSA has not educated stakeholders well about how absolute measures are formulated and specifically why absolute measures vary greatly across peer groups. C.H. Robinson suggests FMCSA fully explain absolute measures to shippers, brokers and other stakeholders, to reduce the risk that small business carriers will be adversely impacted. C.H. Robinson believes the potential adverse impact to small carriers regarding this confusion is significant. In addition, the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation (ASCETT) noted that, with declining inspection rates, continued evidence of enforcement anomalies, electronic logging devices (ELDs) and speed limiters, a new NPRM and opportunity for notice and comment is needed. ASCETT further commented that the Agency will have to recalibrate the failure measures through rulemaking to justify new enforcement thresholds. However, ASCETT questioned if the recalibrations would be worth the expense. Criticism of Data Analysis Period (2011) Some commenters noted that applying the methodologies to more current data would change the population of carriers that would be identified as proposed unfit. Commenters noted that the number of PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 14849 inspections has decreased since 2011. Additionally, some commenters pointed out that by the end of 2017, ELDs will be mandatory. This change will alter the violations in the Hours of Service category. Also, these commenters stated that if speed limiters become mandated for heavy vehicles this would result in changes to violations. Comments on Costs Some commenters alleged that some costs associated with declaring additional carriers ‘‘unfit’’ were not considered in the economic analysis. According to these commenters, other costs to consider in addition to those currently in the economic analysis include: Impacts to non-driver staff; costs for improving performance to come into compliance (e.g., attorney, consultant, and employee training costs); costs for administrative appeals; damage to business reputation and creditworthiness; lost sales; opportunity costs of time away from the business; lost revenue to suppliers (such as fuel suppliers); lost capital utilization if vehicles are taken off the market unnecessarily; defaults on loans; repossession of equipment; and personal bankruptcy of owners. Impacts on Small Businesses Three commenters suggested that FMCSA should consider changes to the proposed rule for small entities, including retaining the ‘‘corrective action plan’’ provision in the current regulation. In addition, some commenters recommended that FMCSA allow for reduced reporting requirements and timetables for small carriers. Letter to the Secretary of Transportation Urging Withdrawal On February 15, 2017, a letter from 62 national and regional organizations of motor carriers urged Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao to withdraw the NPRM; a copy of the letter has been added to the docket. The organizations argued that the proposed rule utilizes SMS data and methodologies, which Congress directed the National Academies of Science to review in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, Public Law 114–94 (FAST Act) (Dec. 4, 2015). The National Academies of Science final report is expected in June 2017. The organizations representing motor property and passenger carriers believe it is ill-advised to develop a new SFD system until the report is received and any necessary reforms are made through corrective actions to the foundational data and methodologies that support E:\FR\FM\23MRP1.SGM 23MRP1 14850 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 55 / Thursday, March 23, 2017 / Proposed Rules [Docket No. 161128999–7248–01] to Pacific Coast Indian tribes that have a treaty right to harvest groundfish. DATES: Comments on this proposed rule must be received no later than April 24, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2017–0005, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20170005, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Barry A. Thom, Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115–0070, Attn: Miako Ushio. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Miako Ushio, phone: 206–526–4644, and email: miako.ushio@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: RIN 0648–BG47 Electronic Access Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2017 Tribal Fishery for Pacific Whiting This proposed rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the Federal Register Web site at https:// www.federalregister.gov. Background information and documents are available at the NMFS West Coast Region Web site at http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ fisheries/management/whiting/pacific_ whiting.html and at the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/. safety fitness determinations. While the petitioners support the goal of an easily understandable, rational SFD system, they believe the NPRM should be withdrawn at this time. FMCSA Decision To Withdraw the NPRM Based on the current record, including comments received in response to the NPRM and the February 2017 correspondence to Secretary Chao, FMCSA has decided to withdraw the January 2016 NPRM and, accordingly, cancels the plans to develop a SNPRM as announced by the Agency on January 12, 2017. If FMCSA determines changes to the safety fitness determination process are still necessary and advisable in the future, a new rulemaking would be initiated that will incorporate any appropriate recommendations from the National Academies of Science and the comments received through this rulemaking. The NPRM concerning motor carrier safety fitness determinations is withdrawn. Issued under the authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.87 on: March 17, 2017. Daphne Y. Jefferson, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2017–05777 Filed 3–22–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS issues this proposed rule for the 2017 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006, as amended. This proposed rule would allocate 17.5 percent of the U.S. Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of Pacific whiting for 2017 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 treaty Indian tribe with treaty fishing rights in the area covered by the FMP at the beginning of the biennial harvest specifications and management measures process. The Secretary will develop tribal allocations and regulations in consultation with the affected tribe(s) and, insofar as possible, with tribal consensus. The procedures that NMFS employs in implementing tribal treaty rights under the FMP were designed to provide a framework process by which NMFS can accommodate tribal treaty rights by setting aside appropriate amounts of fish in conjunction with the Pacific Fishery Management Council process for determining harvest specifications and management measures. Since the FMP has been in place, NMFS has been allocating a portion of the U.S. TAC (called Optimum Yield (OY) or Annual Catch Limit (ACL) prior to 2012) of Pacific whiting to the tribal fishery, following the process established in 50 CFR 660.50(d). The tribal allocation is subtracted from the U.S. Pacific whiting TAC before allocation to the non-tribal sectors. There are four tribes that can participate in the tribal Pacific whiting fishery: The Hoh Tribe, the Makah Tribe, the Quileute Tribe and the Quinault Indian Nation (collectively, the ‘‘Treaty Tribes’’). The Hoh Tribe has not expressed an interest in participating to date. The Quileute Tribe and Quinault Indian Nation have expressed interest in commencing participation in the Pacific whiting fishery. However, to date, only the Makah Tribe has prosecuted a tribal fishery for Pacific whiting, having harvested Pacific whiting since 1996 using midwater trawl gear. Tribal allocations have been based on discussions with the Tribes regarding their intent for those fishing years. Table 1 below provides a history of U.S. TACs and annual tribal allocation in metric tons (mt). TABLE 1—U.S. TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC) AND ANNUAL TRIBAL ALLOCATION IN METRIC TONS (mt) Year Background The regulations at 50 CFR 660.50(d) address the implementation of the treaty rights that Pacific Coast treaty Indian tribes have to harvest groundfish in their usual and accustomed fishing areas in U.S. waters. Section 660.50(d) provides that an allocation or regulation specific to the tribes shall be initiated by a written request from a Pacific Coast PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 E:\FR\FM\23MRP1.SGM .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. 23MRP1 U.S. TAC 1 (mt) 242,591 269,545 135,939 193,935 290,903 186,037 269,745 316,206 325,072 Tribal allocation (mt) 35,000 35,000 50,000 49,939 66,908 48,556 63,205 55,336 56,888

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 55 (Thursday, March 23, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 14848-14850]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-05777]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 350, 365, 385, 386, 387, and 395

[Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0001]
RIN 2126-AB11


Carrier Safety Fitness Determination

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of withdrawal.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: FMCSA withdraws its January 21, 2016, notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed a revised methodology for issuance of 
a safety fitness determination (SFD) for motor carriers. The new 
methodology would have determined when a motor carrier is not fit to 
operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in or affecting interstate 
commerce based on the carrier's on-road safety data; an investigation; 
or a combination of on-road safety data and investigation information. 
FMCSA had recently announced that, rather than move to a final rule, a 
Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) would be the next 
step in the rulemaking process. However, after reviewing the record in 
this matter, FMCSA withdraws the NPRM and cancels the plans to develop 
a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The Agency must receive 
the Correlation Study from the National Academies of Science, as 
required by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, 
assess whether and, if so, what corrective actions are advisable, and 
complete additional analysis before determining whether further 
rulemaking action is necessary to revise the safety fitness 
determination process.

DATES: The NPRM ``Carrier Safety Fitness Determination,'' RIN 2126-
AB11, published on January 21, 2016 (81 FR 3562), is withdrawn as of 
March 23, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Barbara Baker, (202) 366-3397, 
barbara.baker@dot.gov. FMCSA office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 21, 2016, FMCSA published an NPRM 
proposing revisions to the current methodology for issuance of a SFD 
for motor carriers as required by 49 U.S.C. 31144 (81 FR 3562).
    The essential elements of the proposed rule included determining 
safety fitness from not only a comprehensive compliance investigation, 
but also considering roadside inspections data. Adding roadside 
inspections to the proposal included a minimum number of inspections 
and violations to be used for the SFD, as well as providing failure 
standards, and elimination of the current three-tier rating system 
(i.e., satisfactory--conditional--unsatisfactory). Also, the NPRM 
proposed revising the SFD appeals process and establishing 
implementation and transition provisions for a final rule.
    The Agency received 153 initial comment period submissions and 17 
reply comment period submissions in response to the NPRM. After 
considering the comments, FMCSA announced that, rather than move to a 
final rule, a SNPRM would be the next step in the rulemaking 
process.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See ``FMCSA Sets Schedule for Safety Fitness Determination--
Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,'' January 12, 2017, at 
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/fmcsa-sets-schedule-safety-fitness-determination-supplemental-notice-proposed-rulemaking.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

NPRM Comments Generally

Elimination of Three Tier Rating System and Scope of FMCSA Rating 
Obligation

    In the NPRM, FMCSA proposed to eliminate the current three ratings 
of satisfactory, conditional and unsatisfactory. Instead, the Agency 
proposed only one rating of ``unfit.'' Commenters including John 
Brannum, C.H. Robinson, Greyhound Lines, Advocates for Highway and Auto 
Safety (Advocates), Road Safe America, Truck Safety Coalition and the 
American Association for Justice supported the termination of the 
three-tier rating system. These commenters supported the fact that this 
change would not allow conditional carriers to operate without 
improving their operations and would make it much clearer for the 
shipping community to determine which carriers may or may not operate. 
Specifically, C. H. Robinson noted it has long recommended a two-tiered 
structure that more clearly signals to shippers, and other industry 
stakeholders, which carriers should not be hired due to safety 
concerns. It said all stakeholders seek clear direction from FMCSA, and 
FMCSA desires stakeholders to properly use data collected by FMCSA. 
David Gee, an owner of a motor carrier and a broker, commented that the 
Agency should use the rulemaking to affirm that the shipper and broker 
community can rely upon the agency's ultimate safety fitness 
determination in making carrier selections free from state law 
negligence suits. Greyhound stated it agrees that the change will do 
away with the misperception that a ``satisfactory'' rating is a sign of 
operational approval.
    However, commenters including the National Motor Freight Traffic 
Association (NMFTA), Minnesota Trucking Association, School Bus, Inc., 
National School Transportation Association, and the American Trucking 
Associations, Inc. (ATA), opposed the proposed change. ATA wrote that 
the proposal to remove the term ``safety rating'' may have negative, 
perhaps unanticipated, consequences. Specifically, ATA explained that 
there will be no means to distinguish fleets whose safety management 
controls have been verified during compliance reviews (i.e. those 
labeled

[[Page 14849]]

``Satisfactory'') from fleets that have not been reviewed. Second, 
there will be no means to separate fleets with documented deficiencies 
(i.e. those labeled ``Conditional'') from all other fleets not labeled 
``Unfit.'' In addition to the inequity this creates for fleets that 
have earned a ``Satisfactory'' rating, ATA believes it does a 
disservice to third parties and the general public who should be 
alerted to the fleets with documented problems. ATA also proposed that 
FMCSA should allow fleets that have been investigated to maintain their 
satisfactory ratings; this idea was echoed by NMFTA and the Intermodal 
Association of North America.
    Further, ATA suggested that FMCSA consider three labels: Assessed--
Unfit, Assessed--Not Unfit, and Not Assessed. ATA noted that a tiered 
naming convention such as this could help eliminate confusion and leave 
third parties better informed.
    Some commenters also asserted that FMCSA, contrary to the position 
expressed in the NPRM, had a statutory duty to determine the fitness of 
all motor carriers, not just those that are unfit. These commenters 
claimed that the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 31144 require such actions.

Failure Standards

    Advocates expressed concern that, as proposed, one of the 
assessment methods would only reach the worst 1 percent or 4 percent of 
carriers, depending on the various categories. Advocates believe that 
the failure standards were ``artificially selected'' based on the 
Agency's resources ``instead of making safety the highest priority.'' 
Advocates recommended that the SFD process should identify each and 
every motor carrier that is unsafe and needs to be determined 
``Unfit.'' Contrarily, to support the Agency's proposal, the 
International Brotherhood of Teamsters offered that the Agency should 
only be expected to determine the safety fitness of as many carriers as 
possible, given existing resources.
    Advocates further commented that if the agency plans to use the 
absolute performance measure based on a snapshot of data to establish 
the thresholds, there must be a plan to continually update this data to 
encourage improvements in safety on par with increases in on-road 
safety, both within the industry and on-road in general.
    Knight Transportation agreed with the Agency's proposal that 
carrier fitness should not be based on relative peer performance. NMFTA 
added that the assignment of absolute failure standards for the 
individual categories would provide a carrier with a better method to 
track and assess its safety compliance based on the roadside 
inspections, and sooner identify an area which might require additional 
attention. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters noted that, under 
the proposed methodology, carriers will benefit from being judged 
solely on their own performance rather than other companies' safety 
performance. Intermodal Association of North America also believes that 
moving to an absolute measurement approach is an improved method over 
the existing, relative measurements of the Compliance, Safety, and 
Accountability program.
    The American Bus Association questioned how FMCSA can issue a 
regulatory proposal to change the long standing safety fitness 
determination process for motor carriers, without providing the failure 
standards in the NPRM.
    C.H. Robinson commended the decision to move away from a percentile 
ranking and establish firm, fixed safety data targets as represented by 
the ``absolute measure'' thresholds that began to be published in 
August 2014. C.H. Robinson found, however, that FMCSA has not educated 
stakeholders well about how absolute measures are formulated and 
specifically why absolute measures vary greatly across peer groups. 
C.H. Robinson suggests FMCSA fully explain absolute measures to 
shippers, brokers and other stakeholders, to reduce the risk that small 
business carriers will be adversely impacted. C.H. Robinson believes 
the potential adverse impact to small carriers regarding this confusion 
is significant.
    In addition, the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck 
Transportation (ASCETT) noted that, with declining inspection rates, 
continued evidence of enforcement anomalies, electronic logging devices 
(ELDs) and speed limiters, a new NPRM and opportunity for notice and 
comment is needed. ASCETT further commented that the Agency will have 
to recalibrate the failure measures through rulemaking to justify new 
enforcement thresholds. However, ASCETT questioned if the 
recalibrations would be worth the expense.

Criticism of Data Analysis Period (2011)

    Some commenters noted that applying the methodologies to more 
current data would change the population of carriers that would be 
identified as proposed unfit. Commenters noted that the number of 
inspections has decreased since 2011. Additionally, some commenters 
pointed out that by the end of 2017, ELDs will be mandatory. This 
change will alter the violations in the Hours of Service category. 
Also, these commenters stated that if speed limiters become mandated 
for heavy vehicles this would result in changes to violations.

Comments on Costs

    Some commenters alleged that some costs associated with declaring 
additional carriers ``unfit'' were not considered in the economic 
analysis. According to these commenters, other costs to consider in 
addition to those currently in the economic analysis include: Impacts 
to non-driver staff; costs for improving performance to come into 
compliance (e.g., attorney, consultant, and employee training costs); 
costs for administrative appeals; damage to business reputation and 
creditworthiness; lost sales; opportunity costs of time away from the 
business; lost revenue to suppliers (such as fuel suppliers); lost 
capital utilization if vehicles are taken off the market unnecessarily; 
defaults on loans; repossession of equipment; and personal bankruptcy 
of owners.

Impacts on Small Businesses

    Three commenters suggested that FMCSA should consider changes to 
the proposed rule for small entities, including retaining the 
``corrective action plan'' provision in the current regulation. In 
addition, some commenters recommended that FMCSA allow for reduced 
reporting requirements and timetables for small carriers.

Letter to the Secretary of Transportation Urging Withdrawal

    On February 15, 2017, a letter from 62 national and regional 
organizations of motor carriers urged Secretary of Transportation 
Elaine L. Chao to withdraw the NPRM; a copy of the letter has been 
added to the docket.
    The organizations argued that the proposed rule utilizes SMS data 
and methodologies, which Congress directed the National Academies of 
Science to review in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, 
Public Law 114-94 (FAST Act) (Dec. 4, 2015). The National Academies of 
Science final report is expected in June 2017. The organizations 
representing motor property and passenger carriers believe it is ill-
advised to develop a new SFD system until the report is received and 
any necessary reforms are made through corrective actions to the 
foundational data and methodologies that support

[[Page 14850]]

safety fitness determinations. While the petitioners support the goal 
of an easily understandable, rational SFD system, they believe the NPRM 
should be withdrawn at this time.

FMCSA Decision To Withdraw the NPRM

    Based on the current record, including comments received in 
response to the NPRM and the February 2017 correspondence to Secretary 
Chao, FMCSA has decided to withdraw the January 2016 NPRM and, 
accordingly, cancels the plans to develop a SNPRM as announced by the 
Agency on January 12, 2017. If FMCSA determines changes to the safety 
fitness determination process are still necessary and advisable in the 
future, a new rulemaking would be initiated that will incorporate any 
appropriate recommendations from the National Academies of Science and 
the comments received through this rulemaking. The NPRM concerning 
motor carrier safety fitness determinations is withdrawn.

    Issued under the authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.87 on: March 
17, 2017.
Daphne Y. Jefferson,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-05777 Filed 3-22-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P