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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-02-018
Details
Synopsis: On May 31, 2001, about 3:28 p.m. central daylight time, a southbound Gayle Stuart Trucking, Inc., (Stuart Trucking) truck-tractor semitrailer exited Interstate 540 at State Highway 282 (SH-282) near Mountainburg, Arkansas. The driver was unable to stop at the stop sign at the bottom of the ramp. The 79,040-pound combination unit was traveling approximately 48 mph when it entered the intersection and collided with the right side of a westbound, 65-passenger, 1990 Blue Bird Corporation school bus operated by the Mountainburg, Arkansas, Public Schools. The school bus rotated approximately 300 degrees clockwise and overturned; the body, which partially separated from the chassis, came to rest on its right side on the eastbound shoulder of SH-282. The tractor semitrailer continued across the roadway, rotated about 60 degrees clockwise, overturned, and came to rest on its left side. Three school bus passengers seated across from the impact area were fatally injured; one was partially ejected. Two other passengers, one of whom was seated in the impact area, received serious injuries, and four passengers had minor injuries. The school bus driver and the truckdriver both sustained minor injuries.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Revise 49 Code of Federal Regulations 396.25, Qualifications of Brake Inspectors, to require certification after testing as a prerequisite for qualification and specify, at a minimum, formal training in brake maintenance and inspection.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Mountainburg, AR, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY01MH025
Accident Reports: Collision Between Truck-Tractor Semitrailer and School Bus
Report #: HAR-02-03
Accident Date: 5/31/2001
Issue Date: 9/13/2002
Date Closed: 9/15/2015
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FMCSA (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s): Maintenance, Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 9/15/2015
Response: We are pleased that you recently improved your carrier review and enforcement efforts using information gathered from enhanced investigative and data review techniques. We are also encouraged by your efforts to continuously improve the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program and the imminent publication of the Safety Fitness Determination notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). Our intent in issuing Safety Recommendations H-02-17 and 18 was to ensure that brake system maintenance and inspections are performed by qualified persons. Although you have not required training or established an unsatisfactory vehicle rating as recommended, the program changes you have made establish more vigilant enforcement actions and improve analytical processes, allowing your investigators to look at personnel qualifications, determine whether a carrier’s brake maintenance and inspection program is adequate, and take appropriate enforcement action when inadequacies are found. These efforts constitute an acceptable alternate means of addressing Safety Recommendations H-02-17 and 18, which are classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE ACTION.

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 9/30/2010
Response: Notation 8248: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Announcement of Public Listening Session and Request for Comment, which was published at 75 Federal Register 53015 on August 30, 2010. The notice announced that the FMCSA planned to hold a public listening session to solicit input on key challenges facing the motor carrier industry, issues facing stakeholders, and concerns that should be considered by the agency in developing its next 5-year Strategic Plan. NTSB staff attended the listening session and provided the FMCSA with a list of open recommendations that have been issued to the FMCSA. The FMCSA also invited written comments, suggestions, and recommendations from all individuals and organizations regarding the FMCSA’s mission, vision, and strategic objectives (goals) for the plan. This letter provides a more detailed history of the currently open recommendations the NTSB has made to the FMCSA (attached), a summary of the key safety issues the FMCSA should address to improve truck and bus safety as presented during the NTSB’s April 28, 2010, testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security (attached), and responds to the questions most relevant to the NTSB’s mission for which the FMCSA is seeking input. Question 2. How can the FMCSA have a greater impact in the reduction of injuries and loss of life on our nation’s highways? The NTSB currently has 51 open recommendations that were issued to the FMCSA with the intent to improve safety on our highways. The implementation of these recommendations would allow the FMCSA to have both an immediate and lasting impact on reducing loss on our highways. We continue to believe that a plan to implement the recommendations on the NTSB’s Federal Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements (MWL) would significantly contribute to transportation safety. Question 5. How can the FMCSA balance driver-focused, vehicle-focused, motor carrier- focused compliance, interventions, and enforcement to achieve its safety mission? The NTSB has recommended that the FMCSA change the “balance” of its motor carrier oversight since 1999. The two most important factors related to safe motor carrier operations are the condition of the vehicles and the performance of the drivers. Current rules prevent the FMCSA from putting carriers out of service with an unsatisfactory rating in only one of the 6 rated factors. They must be unsatisfactory in at least 2 factors. In other words, they could be unsatisfactory in either the vehicle or driver areas and still be allowed to operate. The NTSB believes that an unsatisfactory in either category should be sufficient cause to place a carrier out of service. The NTSB recommended that the FMCSA do something relatively simple: change the safety fitness rating methodology so that adverse vehicle- or driver performance-based data alone would be sufficient to result in an overall “unsatisfactory” rating for a carrier. To date, the FMCSA has not acted on this recommendation. As a result, the NTSB added this recommendation to our Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The NTSB has been encouraged that the FMCSA is developing the CSA 2010 Initiative to include a greater emphasis on vehicle and driver safety. However, the NTSB is disappointed that the FMCSA did not make the incremental changes to the current safety system necessary to make either driver or vehicle deficiencies sufficient to affect the safety rating of a carrier. As such, the NTSB believes the FMCSA’s strategic plan should recognize the importance of getting carriers with unsafe drivers or unsafe vehicles off the road. Question 8. What technological changes could positively impact highway safety? The NTSB has recommended numerous technological improvements to both the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Two technologies, forward collision warning systems (FCWs) and electronic onboard recording systems (EOBRs), are currently on the NTSB’s Federal MWL. Both of these technologies have been available for the last decade and could have improved highway safety. More recently, the NTSB has recommended to NHTSA technologies for driver fatigue detection, stability control for buses, event data recording, and lane departure warning for buses. The implementation of these recommendations would significantly improve highway safety. Question 9. How will technology affect driver behavior? Well designed technology can improve driver performance. Current research by the FMCSA on vehicle based collision warning systems found improved driver performance as a result of technology. However, technology not designed for use in vehicles, such as cell phones, can distract the driver from the road. That is why the NTSB supported the FMCSA’s ban on texting. Further, the NTSB has included restricting bus drivers from using a cell phone on its Federal MWL. The NTSB appreciates the opportunity to comment on this notice addressing concerns that should be considered in developing the FMCSA’s 5-year Strategic Plan. Many of the issues discussed here have been around for decades, and much is left to be done to improve highway safety. Prompt action is needed so that the trucks and buses that surround us on the nation’s highways are safely designed, maintained, and operated. We look forward to working with FMCSA in the near future to address the concerns presented in these comments.

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 7/23/2007
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Battelle report recommends the implementation of Safety Recommendation H-02-18 as a cost-beneficial action for the motor carrier industry. The report indicated that properly maintained brakes lead to safer operations and lower accident rates, and brake inspectors with comprehensive training experience would provide a safety benefit. The FMCSA indicated that the agency would analyze the report data to determine the best course of action before providing an update to the Board. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-02-18 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE, pending the revision of 49 CFR 393.25 to require formal training, testing, and certification of brake inspectors.

From: FMCSA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/17/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/17/2006 3:06:57 PM MC# 2060512: - From Barbara Braswell, FMSCA: Please see attached the final report, Assessment of Potential Benefits and Costs of Revising Brake Inspection Procedures and Certifying Brake Technicians, prepared by the Battelle Memorial Institute for FMCSA. Transmission of this report is an interim activity to address NTSB Safety Recommendations H-02-15 and H-02-18, noted in your 7/28/06 letter. We will provide a further update once we have analyzed the results of the study and determined any appropriate future actions.

From: FMCSA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/3/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/7/2006 12:14:43 PM MC# 2060389 - From David H. Hugel, Acting Administrator: I am pleased to provide the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Adminimtion’s (FMCSA) response to the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) questions from our June 15,2006, Comprehensive Safety AnaIysis 20 IO initiative briefing. Specifically, you asked how many motor carriers are included on our Safety Status Measurement System (SafeSW) A and B Lists annually, and how many of these carriers are subject to a Compliance Review (CR) a m d y . The FMCSA’s Safestat system is updated monthIy, rather than annually, to identify new high- risk carriers in a timely manner and to reflect impved performance by carriers previously identified as high-risk. On average, there are approximately 5,500 motor carriers on FMCSA’s SafeStat A and B lists in a given month. As of May 2006, there were 5,636 motor carriers on FMCSA’s SafeStat A and B Lists. During fiscal year 2005, FMCSA and its Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program partners conducted a total of 12,596 CRs. Of those reviews, 6,004 were conducted on motor carriers that were included on FMCSA’s A or B list at the time the CR was conducted. Please note that not all SafeStat A and B motor carriers are considered an immediate priority for CRs, but only those which have not had a compliance review within the previous year. In many instances, motor carriers are listed on the SafeStat A and B list by virtue of the fact that violations were documented on a recent &e., conducted in the last 12 months) compliance review. Those A and B carriers are monitored to determine ifthey improve their safety performance or if an additional compliance review is warranted because sufficient improvement has not occurred. In addition to CRs on Safestat A and B carriers, FMCSA conducts CRs in response to Congressional inquiries, citizen complaints, significant fatal crashes, and significant hazardous materials incidents. We also conduct CRs to support our hazardous materials permitting program (carriers must have a Satisfactory safety rating to obtain a hazardous materials permit). Moreover, Congress specifically directed FMCSA to require follow-up visits and monitoring of motor carriers with less-than-S&factory ratings in Section 216 of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of I999 (MCSIA). FMCSA implemented a program to comply with this MCSIA requirement in fiscal year 2002. Since that h e , we have conducted more than 12,816 CRs on carriers with previous Conditional ratings and more than 3,822 reviews on carriers with previous Unsatisfactory ratings. I hope you find this information useful. The FMCSA is working to continuously improve our safety oversight and follow-up activities, and we look forward to working with NTSB to fdfdI our mutual transportation safety goals. If you need additional information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me or Dan Hartman, Associate Adminishator for Enforcement and Program Delivery at 202-366-2525.

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 7/28/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FMCSA contracted with the Battelle Memorial Institute to examine the costs and benefits of the Board's recommended revisions to the CFR regarding training and certification for brake adjustment and repair. According to the task order, initiated in February 2005, Battelle will estimate (1) the potential benefits and costs of implementing the Board's recommendation to establish Federal testing and certification requirements for persons who maintain or repair commercial motor vehicle (CMV) brakes, and (2) the time and level of training required for CMV drivers to conduct pretrip inspections of sufficient depth to discover defects or deficiencies that were not corrected by a certified brake mechanic. In recent communications with Board staff, FMCSA staff indicated that they reviewed a draft report and provided comments to Battelle. As Battelle will need to perform additional work to address the comments, the final report is now expected to be available by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2006. This study constitutes a positive step toward meeting the intent of Safety Recommendations H-02-15 and -18. The Board would appreciate receiving a copy of the final report when it becomes available, as well as an update on the agency's plans to address the full intent of the recommendations. As funds become available, the FMCSA also plans to augment its warning communications to motor carriers to include information on brake-related problems. Using the Motor Carrier Management Information System to identify motor carriers with below-average roadside brake inspection outcomes, the FMCSA will send official letters urging those carriers to take action to improve their brake maintenance programs. Brake system safety remains an area of concern for the Safety Board, as evidenced by our investigations of recent accidents occurring in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania; El Cerrito, California; and Osseo, Wisconsin. Monitoring performance and providing motor carriers with an early warning of negative trends may contribute significantly to increased safety on the nation's highways. The planned change of focus for safety communications and implementation of the recommended CFR revisions would satisfy the full intent of these recommendations. Safety Recommendations H-02-15 and -18 have been included in the group of 18 recommendations being considered during the FMCSA's evaluation of its current safety compliance and enforcement programs, an in-depth review known as the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 Initiative. Although the Safety Board applauds the FMCSA's effort to undertake this comprehensive review, it is unaware of any public document outlining specific steps the agency plans to take and milestones it plans to meet to accomplish the review and implement necessary changes. As mentioned in my April 19, 2006, letter to the FMCSA, the Board would appreciate receiving details about how the FMCSA plans to proceed with the CSA 2010 Initiative and satisfactorily address these recommendations. As the final report of the Battelle study is expected by the end of FY 2006 and the FMCSA has planned changes to its motor carrier warning communications, Safety Recommendations H-02-15 and -18 are classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE pending application of the results of the Battelle study and revisions of 49 CFR 396.13 and 396.25.

From: FMCSA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/9/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/10/2006 11:12:20 AM MC# 2060234 - From Warren E. Hoemann, Acting Administrator: I am pleased to provide the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) response to the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) letter dated April 19,2006, regarding our Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 Initiative. CSA 2010 reflects a new approach to how our Agency carries out its compliance and enforcement activities. Its goal is to enable FMCSA to have contact with more regulated entities through a broader array of compliance interventions that optimize Agency resources. I appreciate NTSB's acknowledgement of this major effort. In response to your request, I have enclosed a listing of major CSA 2010 activities with corresponding timeframes. The dates, of course, are for planning purposes and subject to change pending future budgetary constraints. We are also working with your staff to arrange a CSA 20 10 briefing for Board members. We believe it is crucial that FMCSA carry on a continuing dialogue with our partners and stakeholders as we continue the development of CSA 20 10. As you know, the Agency held a series of listening sessions in 2004 to solicit public input on the conceptual CSA 20 10 operational model. Based on that input, we completed the attributes of a proposed operational model. The CSA 2010 Team is currently working through the process of defining the technical requirements, pilot testing, validation, deployment and implementation issues associated with the draft operational model. We plan to conduct the first of a new series of listening sessions later this year. At that time, we hope to be in a better position to detail specific information. The dates and locations of the listening sessions will be announced in the Federal Register. I hope that NTSB representatives will attend. Additional outreach events are being planned to include announcement of the pilot test and the State partners that will be involved in the pilot. As FMCSA continues this major safety initiative, we will engage and solicit input from our partners and stakeholders. Our Agency has been, and remains, committed to addressing NTSB safety recommendations, either by implementing NTSB's recommended approach or by pursuing alternatives which we believe will achieve the intended result. We are not "deferring action" on any safety recommendations issued to FMCSA, but are working to identify the most effective strategies for enhancing motor carrier safety. We will continue to explore all potential countermeasures, including, but not limited to, CSA 20 10. I hope that you find this information useful. FMCSA looks forward to working with NTSB to fulfill our mutual transportation safety goals and to provide more information about our CSA 2010 initiative at the upcoming Board briefing currently being arranged by our staffs. If you need additional information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 4/19/2006
Response: Six years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was launched as a new U.S. Department of Transportation agency charged with improving motor carrier safety in our nation. Then Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Rodney E. Slater, announced that the FMCSA's goal was to reduce truck and bus fatalities by 50 percent by 2010. At that time, there were more than 5,300 such fatalities every year. Five years later, the 2004 fatality count was 5,248, only slightly lower and far from approaching the FMCSA's 50 percent reduction goal. In fact, the death count in 2004 was higher than the 2003 count of 5,072, and the large truck fatality rate remained a constant 2.3 deaths per 100 million truck vehicle miles traveled. Today, there are 36 open safety recommendations that the National Transportation Safety Board issued to the FMCSA, 18 of which relate to the oversight of motor carrier operations and enforcement of regulations. The oldest of these recommendations dates back to 1993. The Safety Board is concerned that the FMCSA is not making timely progress toward meeting the intent of these recommendations. A list of the 18 recommendations, including the date and text of the last correspondence, is enclosed. Nine of these recommendations are currently on the Board's Most Wanted list. Two years ago, the FMCSA announced its Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 Initiative, described as a top-to-bottom evaluation of the agency's motor carrier compliance review system. The FMCSA has said that this effort will address 15 of the outstanding recommendations, although the Safety Board has identified an additional 3 recommendations that may also be addressed by the initiative. Although the Board applauds the FMCSA's effort to undertake this comprehensive review, it is unaware of any public document outlining specific steps the agency plans to take and milestones it plans to meet to accomplish the review and implement necessary changes. In the 2 years since the announcement of the initiative, the FMCSA has not provided the Board with any specific information regarding implementation of the initiative or whether it will address any of the 18 open safety recommendations satisfactorily. Currently, an estimated 9 million people hold commercial drivers licenses in the United States, 3 million of whom are active drivers. These drivers operate on an aging highway system already crowded with an ever-increasing number of passenger vehicles. Protecting the safety of all these drivers and their passengers is of paramount concern today. Deferring action on these 18 safety-related recommendations until completion of the initiative in 2010 is not in the best interest of the motoring public and is therefore unacceptable to the Safety Board. The Safety Board would like to receive specific information about how the CSA 2010 Initiative will address the open safety recommendations cited in this letter. Further, the Board would appreciate receiving details about how the FMCSA plans to proceed with the CSA 2010 Initiative, including a proposed timetable and interim steps towards completing the initiative by its deadline. The Board would be pleased to meet with the FMCSA to further discuss the intent of the recommendations and the FMSCA's efforts toward improving the safety of motor carrier operations.

From: FMCSA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/27/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/4/2005 11:02:03 AM MC# 2050464 - From Annette Sandberg, Administrator: I am pleased to provide additional information in response to the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) letter of January 24, 2005, regarding safety recommendations (SR) H-02-015 and H-02-018. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shares NTSB's desire to improve the safety of brake systems on commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in operation. However, we continue to question whether the specific rulemaking actions recommended by NTSB would achieve the Board's anticipated improvements in motor carrier safety. To address the training and certification needs identified in H-02-015 and H-02-018, FMCSA initiated a Task Order with Battelle Memorial Institute in February 2005 to (1) estimate the potential benefits and costs of implementing the NTSB's recommendation to establish Federal testing and certification requirements for persons who maintain or repair CMV brakes, and (2) to estimate the time and level of training required for CMV drivers to conduct pretrip inspections of sufficient depth to discover defects or deficiencies that were not corrected by a certified brake mechanic. We enclose a copy of the technical portion of the study proposal and we will share the results of the study with NTSB when they are available. As we described to NTSB staff in the context of SR H-03-01, FMCSA sends warning letters to newly-identified SafeStat Category C carriers that have not had a recent compliance review (CR). These letters are generated monthly based on the monthly SafeStat results. These motor carriers' safety standing is then closely monitored for a 6-month period. There are three possible outcomes: (1) If a motor carrier's SafeStat standing worsens, placing it in an A or B category, the motor carrier is immediately recommended for a CR. (2) If the motor carrier's SafeStat standing still places it in Category C, it is recommended for a CR, as soon as scheduling permits. (3) If the motor carrier's SafeStat score improves and it is no longer in Category C, it is removed from this monitoring process. As resources permit, FMCSA is considering augmenting this communication to increase the focus upon motor carriers with poor brake-related roadside inspection results. We plan to use the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) to identify motor carriers with below-average roadside brake inspection outcomes, and send official letters to these carriers, urging them to take action to improve their brake maintenance programs. FMCSA would also monitor the motor carriers' performance through MCMIS. This approach would provide motor carriers with an "early warning" of brake violation and out-of-service trends, prior to the motor carrier's safety status falling to a SafeStat Category C. Thus, it should give the carrier additional time to address those issues. We have been, and remain, fully committed to improving CMV brake safety. I respectfully request that NTSB reclassify Recommendations H-02-015 and H-02-018 as "Open-Acceptable Response," pending the results of the Battelle Memorial Institute study.

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 1/25/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes FMCSA's $10.72 billion cost estimate for enacting this recommendation; however, that estimate is based on a wider interpretation of the recommendation than was either intended or specified. As discussed in the December 6 meeting, Safety Recommendation H-02-18 would only require those individuals designated as "brake inspectors" as defined by 49 CFR 396.25(b)-not 6.4 million CMV drivers-to have training and be qualified in brake maintenance. Enacting this recommendation would entail requiring only these inspectors (essentially, brake mechanics) to receive certification after testing. Inoperable brakes present a danger not only to CMV drivers, but also to the other drivers and passengers who share the road with them. This fact is tragically illustrated by the May 1, 2001, accident near Mountainburg, Arkansas, in which three school bus passengers were fatally injured. The Safety Board is certain that the FMCSA would agree that brake inspectors (mechanics) who are repairing or installing commercial vehicle brakes should have the knowledge, skills, and training to do so properly. The alternate actions by FMCSA outlined in your response are not appropriate substitutes for this recommendation; thus, pending further action to carry out the intent of this recommendation and ensure that all brake inspectors are certified or have received appropriate training, Safety Recommendation H-02-18 is classified OPEN -- UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FMCSA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/9/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/16/2004 12:17:35 PM MC# 2040510 - Annette Sandberg, Administrator: We also understand that H-02-018 calls on FMCSA to require every person performing CMV brake inspections to have formal certification and to pass a test to qualify them to adjust their vehicle's brakes. We believe such a requirement would impose a significantly increased burden on motor carriers and CMV drivers who do not currently perform their own brake maintenance, and that this increased burden would not result in a commensurate increase in safety. The direct costs of training and compensation forgone during training would be close to $10.72 billion, for an estimated 6.4 million CMV drivers who would he subject to this requirement. We discuss these issues in detail in the enclosed Appendix. In the alternative, FMCSA has either implemented, or plans to implement, the following approaches to improve CMV brake safety: · In September 1995, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) were revised to require automatic brake adjusters and brake adjustment indicators on air- braked CMVs manufactured in 1994 and later, and the majority of air-braked straight trucks and truck-trailers fall under this requirement. These devices appear to have had a significant influence on safety. Between 1990 and 2002, the number of brake out-of- service violations dropped by more than 40 percent, and the number of brake out-of- service violations per inspection dropped by more than 67 percent. · On April 4, 1997, the Federal Highway Administration Office of Motor Carriers (now FMCSA) published new regulatory guidance for 49 CFR 396.25 (enclosed) which clarified the roles and responsibilities of drivers, carriers, and qualified brake inspectors. · In 1998-in conjunction with the Technology and Maintenance Council-FMCSA published the Directory of Offerors of Truck and Bus Brake Mechanic Training Courses and Materials. Such a document improves CMV brake safety because we found that many motor carriers want to maintain their CMVs properly, but do not know where to look for resources. We printed 1000 copies of the 1998 edition and sent nearly 300 copies to motor carriers with higher-than-average brake violation rates, along with a video on brake adjustment. As soon as funding is in place, we plan to publish an updated version of the Directory and make it available in printed and electronic formats. · In August 2002, FMCSA revised d 393.52 of the FMCSRs to establish pass/fail criteria for use of performance-based brake tester (PBBT) data to determine CMVs compliance with brake performance requirements. The specific types of PBBTs addressed in that rule were the roller dynamometer, breakaway torque tester, and flat-plate tester. The rule went into effect February 3, 2003. · In December 2003, we completed a study of on-hoard sensors for determining brake systems performance. The report is being printed and should be available for distribution shortly. · In July 2004, we awarded a contract for a study to develop, implement, and analyze the performance of, a simple inspection protocol to determine the operational status of an anti-lock brake system malfunction indicator circuit on a CMV. · By late September 2004, we plan to award a contract for a research study that would evaluate the adequacy of existing regulations that allow the use of PBBTs, and to determine whether the requirements should be revised to include wheel-by-wheel, and axle-by-axle brake performance standards to supplement the current total vehicle standards. The study may also include assessing the adequacy of the Agency's functional specifications for PBBTs, and verification of PBBT manufacturers' certification of their machines. As soon as funding is in place, FMCSA plans to implement direct communication with motor carriers with poor brake-related roadside inspection results. We plan to use the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) to identify motor carriers with higher-than-average brake violation rates, and send official letters to these carriers, urging them to take action to improve their brake maintenance programs. FMCSA would also monitor the motor carriers' performance through MCMIS, acknowledging those that show improvement, and reminding others that there is still work to be done. This approach would also serve as a reminder that continued lack of compliance could lead to sanctions.

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 10/30/2003
Response: At a SWAT meeting held on 10/30/03, FMCSA staff reported that its research on this issue, per a July 2003 letter from the Safety Board, is ongoing at this point in time. The FMCSA has prepared an AC that is currently being reviewed by their General Counsel's office in anticipation of being issued soon.

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 7/1/2003
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FMCSA will research training, examination, and certification requirements of organizations that currently certify automotive mechanics and then evaluate the results of the research to determine appropriate next steps. The Board looks forward to an update based on the FMCSA's research results. Pending receipt of this information, Safety Recommendation H-02-18 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FMCSA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/3/2003
Response: MC# 2030051: - From Annette Sandberg, Administrator: FMCSA will research the training, examination, and certification requirements of organizations that currently certify automotive mechanics, such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. We will then evaluate the results of the research and determine appropriate next steps.