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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-87-045
Details
Synopsis: ON JULY 14, 1986, A TRACTOR-SEMITRAILER COMBINATION BY RISING FAST TRUCKING COMPANY, INC. (RFT) WAS MAKING A U-TURN AT A HIGHWAY CROSSOVER ON I-40 NEAR BRINKLEY, ARKANSAS, WHEN THE SEMITRAILER WAS STRUCK BY AN EASTBOUND INTERCITY BUS OPERATED BY TRAILWAYS LINES, INC. THE RFT TRUCKDIRVER AND HIS CODRIVER WERE NOT INJURED. THE BUSDRIVER AND 27 PASSENGERS SUSTAINED INJURIES RANGING FROM MINOR TO SERIOUS. ONE PASSENGER WAS NOT INJURED.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION: REVISE THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS WITHOUT DELAY TO REQUIRE OPERATORS OF COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES TO PERIODICALLY OBTAIN AND RETAIN ON FILE THE DRIVING VIOLATION CONVICTION RECORD FOR EACH DRIVER EMPLOYED FROM THE STATE WHICH ISSUED THE DRIVER'S LICENSE TO OPERATE A COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Brinkley, AR, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA86MH005
Accident Reports: Trailways Lines, Inc., Intercity Bus Collision with Rising Fast Trucking Company, Inc., Interstate Highway to 40
Report #: HAR-87-05
Accident Date: 7/14/1986
Issue Date: 8/19/1987
Date Closed: 7/12/1989
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 12/8/1989
Response: We have reviewed the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) August 25, 1989, response signed by Mr. R.D. Morgan to the National Transportation Safety Board's Safety Recommendation H-87-45. This safety recommendation called upon the FHWA to require operators of commercial motor vehicles to periodically obtain and retain on file the driving violation conviction record for each driver employed from the State that issued the driver's license to operate a commercial motor vehicle. We appreciate the FHWA's concern regarding the classification of this safety recommendation as "Closed--Unacceptable Action." This safety recommendation was placed in that status because the response from former Administrator Robert Farris indicated that the FHWA did not intend to revise the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) to meet the intent of the safety recommendation. The key part of our safety recommendation is the suggested periodic update of the driver's record. Currently, there is no requirement within the FMCSR for employers to obtain a driver's driving violation conviction record from the licensing agency after the driver first gains employment. The FMCSR (49 CFR 391.23) only requires that a prospective employer determine an applicant's driving violation conviction record by contacting the licensing agency within 30 days after the driver is first employed. Certainly, the Commercial Driver License (CDL) program, when fully implemented, will encourage motor carriers to conduct more thorough reviews of their drivers, which is consistent with the purpose of this recommendation. The COL Information System (COLIS) should make it easier for employers to obtain conviction information. Section 383.37 encourages motor carriers to seek information regarding license suspensions, revocations, and cancellations. The Safety Board is not aware of any element of the CDL program that requires employers to periodically obtain traffic conviction information. The Safety Board recognizes that 49 CFR 391.25 requires a motor carrier to annually evaluate a driver's driving violation record. However, the Safety Board continues to have two concerns. First, the evaluation may be based solely on information the driver voluntarily supplies and any information the carrier can obtain from its own files. The carrier is not required by this section to contact the appropriate State agency to obtain a current driving record as part of this annual evaluation. If this step is not taken by the employer, a driver can easily conceal an extensive driving violation conviction record. Second, we note that the FHWA, in response to other safety recommendations regarding review of driver performance (FHWA letter signed by former Administrator Farris and dated August 22, 1988) has stated that there is a possibility that this requirement may be rescinded. The Safety Board is convinced that a periodic review of a driver's record is necessary not simply to determine if a driver meets the Federal qua1ification standards at that time, but a 1 so, and more importantly, to determine if there is a trend toward reaching disqualification limits. It should be the responsibility of the employer to find those drivers who are approaching the limits of qualification for whatever reason and through retraining or some other employee assistance program, improve the performance of those drivers. The Safety Board continues to believe that 49 CFR 391 should be clarified to require employers to make periodic inquiries of the States regarding their drivers' traffic violation conviction records. This, combined with a fully operational COLIS through which employers can promptly obtain the appropriate record information, would meet the intent of Safety Recommendation H-87-45. Because your August 25 letter does not express an intention to take action in response to Safety Recommendation H-87 -45, the Safety Board will continue to hold this recommendation in a CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION status. When the FHWA proposes a revision of Section 391 to require a periodic review of State traffic violations, the Safety Board will reconsider that status.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/25/1989
Response: -From R.D. Morgan, Executive Director: Thank you for your July 12 letter regarding the National Transportation Safety Board's Safety Recommendation H-87-45, which recommends that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) revise the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to require operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to periodically obtain and retain on file the driving violation conviction record for each driver employed from the State which issued the driver's license to operate a CMV. You state that, despite the Notification Requirements in Section 12003 of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, " ... the Safety Board believes that it is unlikely that a driver with an extensive driving violation conviction record would voluntarily report such violations to his employer . " Consequently, the Safety Board classified Safety Recommendation H-87-45 as "closed-unacceptable action." We believe, however, that your action is inappropriate for several reasons. First, the recommendation is already included in the FMCSRs . Section 391.23 of the FMCSRs requires an employer to contact the appropriate agency of each State in which a prospective employee held a motor vehicle operator's license during the preceding three years and conduct an inquiry into the employee's driving record. A copy of the response by each State agency, showing the driver's driving record or certifying that no driving record exists for that driver, shall be retained in the motor carrier's file a~ part of the driver’s qualification file . ~ Section 391.25 of the FMCSRs also requires an employer to review, at least once every 12 months, the driving record of each driver it employs to determine whether that driver meets minimum requirements for safe driving or is disqualified to drive a motor vehicle. The motor carrier is required to make a note of the date the driving record is reviewed and the name of the person who reviewed the record. This information becomes part of the driver's qualification file. The action of classifying Safety Recommendation H- 87-45 as "closed unacceptable action" also seems to dismiss the impact of the existing requirements taken in conjunction with implementation of the commercial driver's license program. Section 12007 of the Act established the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS), referred to in an August 12, 1988, enclosure to the Board. The COLIS went into operation January 3, 1989, and all 51 licensing jurisdictions are scheduled to join the system by 1992. All employers will then have access to the single driving record of all of their employees who are commercial drivers subject to the Act. With the requirement in §383.37 of the FMCSRs which forbids an employer from knowingly allowing an employee to operate a CMV if his/her license is suspended, revoked or cancelled, or during any period the driver is disqualified, we expect employers will voluntarily use COLIS as a resource in checking a driver's status. The FHWA thus objects to your classification of our response to Safety Recommendation B-87-45 and recommends that it be classified as "closed acceptable action. After all 51 licensing jurisdictions have joined COLIS, employers will be-able to contact a single source and conduct inquiries into their employees' driving records as often as they wish.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 7/12/1989
Response: Thank you for your response to the National Transportation Safety Board's Safety Recommendation H-87-45 which recommends that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) revise the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to require operators of commercial motor vehicles to periodically obtain and retain on file the driving violation conviction record for each driver employed from the state which issued the driver's license to operate a commercial motor vehicle. The Safety Board is aware of the provisions of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-570) which define specific responsibilities for both commercial motor vehicle drivers and their employers. Section 12003 of the Act, Notification Requirements, requires that each person who operates a commercial vehicle, who has a driver's 1icense issued by a State, and who violates a State or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control shall notify his or her employer of such violation within 30 days after the date such person is found to have committed such violation. However, the Safety Board believes that it is unlikely that a driver with an extensive driving violation conviction record would voluntarily report such violations to his employer. Since your response indicates that the FHWA does not intend to revise the Safety Regulations to meet the intent of this has been classified as CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/12/1988
Response: -From Robert E. Farris, Federal Highway Administrator: The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (the Act) requires that: commercial motor vehicle drivers be limited to a single license, drivers report all moving traffic violations to both their employer and their State licensing agency within 30 days of conviction, drivers report license suspensions, revocations or cancellations to their employers, drivers provide a 10 year history of their employment as a commercial driver to prospective employers, and an information system be created by January 1989, to provide a source of driver information accessible to both the States and motor carrier employers. Employers will have access, through a State, to their employee's commercial driving records. Also, employers may be subject to criminal or civil penalties if ;hey knowingly allow, require, permit or otherwise authorize any employee to operate a commercial motor vehicle if the employee's license is suspended, cancelled, or revoked, or if the employee is disqualified from driving. Therefore, employers will want to exercise their opportunity to access through a State and the telecommunications system their employee's commercial driver records. The FHWA does not believe additional regulatory requirements are necessary and requests that this recommendation be closed. Employers will have access, through a state, to their employee's commercial driving records. Also, employers may be subject to criminal or civil penalties if they knowingly allow, require, permit or otherwise authorize any employee to operate a commercial motor vehicle if the employee's license is suspended, cancelled, or revoked, or if the employee is disqualified from driving. Therefore, employers will want to exercise their opportunity to access through a state and the telecommunications system their employee's commercial driver records.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 7/25/1988
Response: On August 19, 1987, the National Transportation Safety Board issued Safety Recommendation H-87-45 to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as a result of the Board's investigation of the Trailways Lines, Inc., intercity bus collision with a Rising Fast Trucking Company, Inc., truck on Interstate Highway 40 near Brinkley, Arkansas, on July 14, 1986. On March 24, I988, the Board issued Safety Recommendation H-88-11 to the FHWA as a result our investigation of a tour bus accident near Winter Park, Colorado, on August 10, 1987. The Safety Board has no record of having received an indication of any measures taken by the FHWA regarding the recommended actions. In that regard, we would appreciate being informed as to what efforts have been made to implement these recommendations. Copies of the Safety Board's letters of August 19, 1987, and March 24, 1988, transmitting these recommendations are enclosed for your convenience. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. We look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 9/30/1987
Response: The National Transportation has reviewed the Final Rule and Request for Comments, “Commercial Driver Licensing Standards; Requirements and Penalties” Docket No. 87-6 published at 52 FR 20574 on June 1, 1987. The following are the Board’s comments… 5: Notification of Driver Violations (a) Can the Driver License Compact (DLC) adequately serve the purpose of the driver notification requirements to the State? (b) What level of State participation in the DLC and what level of State compliance with the terms of the DLC should be met, before the DLC is considered as an alternative to the notification requirements? In the Safety Board's view, the problem with this new section of the FMCSR (383.31) is the same as the problem with the annual review of drivers' records, required by Sees. 391.25 and 391.27 and cited in the current request for comments. In both cases, disclosure of violations is based on driver self reporting. In its response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking by the FHWA (Docket No. MC-104, Notice No. 82-8, response dated January 31, 1983), the Safety Board commented: Reliance on self-reporting by the driver is unrealistic. A driver ... is not likely to report the information which could result in adverse action by the employer. Moreover, even the best-intentioned driver might inadvertently forget to report some violations which occurred early in the 12 months preceding the review. Because of these considerations, in both the annual review and the notification of convictions under the single license system, the Safety Board believes the responsibility should not rest solely with the driver. Motor carriers should also have the obligation to obtain the driver record information, rather than waiting for such information to be provided by the driver. For that reason, in a report issued last month on a truck-bus collision near Brinkley, Arkansas (NTSB/HAR-87/05, report dated July 21, 1987), the Board made the following recommendation to the FHWA: Revise the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations without delay to require operators of commercial motor vehicles to annually obtain and retain on file the driving violation conviction record for each driver employed from the State which issued the driver's license to operate a commercial motor vehicle. (H-87-45) This recommended regulatory upgrade could apply to the conviction reporting under Sec. 383.31, as well as the annual report under Sees. 391.25 and 391.27. Even as presently constituted, there is a para 11 e 1 between these two requirements, which was noted in the current request for comments: "If an interstate driver has provided the information under this section (49 CFR 383.31), he/she does not have to repeat the information in the annual report." The reporting under both regulations could also be facilitated if motor carriers had access to data from the National Driver Register (NOR). The NOR currently contains only information on license suspensions and revocations, but when it is expanded, as scheduled, to also tabulate certain serious violations, it will be even more useful for this purpose.