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December 18, 2020
FMCSA proposes end to driver violation reports

On December 14, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed rescinding the requirement that commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers annually prepare and submit a list of their convictions for traffic violations to their employers. The requirement duplicates a separate requirement that motor carriers obtain the motor vehicle record (MVR) for each driver they employ from every state in which their drivers hold or have held a CMV operator’s license or permit in the past year (85 FR 80745).

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However, the change would require motor carriers to request an MVR equivalent for some drivers from Canadian and Mexican driver’s licensing authorities, according to the FMCSA.

The FMCSA considers the requirement that drivers provide an annual list of their violations to their motor carriers (49 CFR §391.27) duplicative of the requirement for an annual inquiry and review of driving records (§391.25(a)). The FMCSA would retain the annual driving record inquiry and review requirement and add a requirement for motor carriers to obtain records of drivers’ convictions for traffic violations from Canadian and Mexican driver’s licensing authorities.

The requirement to obtain MVR equivalents from Canadian and Mexican agencies would have minimal, if any, impact on motor carriers, according to the FMCSA. The agency stated that few CMV drivers operating in the United States are licensed by a foreign authority rather than a state.

The agency estimates that only about 2.0% are employed by Canadian motor carriers operating in the United States, and 0.5% are employed by Mexican motor carriers operating in the United States.

Approximately 139,733 drivers out of a total of 6.2 million CMV drivers reported being employed by Canadian and Mexican motor carriers, according to the FMCSA.

The agency also would make changes to requirements for the hiring process for CMV drivers and motor carriers. A driver would be required to provide on the employment applications the issuing driver’s licensing authority of each unexpired CMV operator’s license or permit issued to the driver. Motor carriers would be required to obtain an MVR for the preceding 3 years from each state where the driver holds or has held a motor vehicle operator’s license or permit.

The FMCSA noted that its predecessor agency, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), twice proposed removing the redundant requirement—on January 10, 1994 (59 FR 1366), and January 27, 1997 (62 FR 3855). The FHWA both times decided to retain the requirement in response to commenters’ concerns that motor carriers have reliable information about drivers’ traffic violations. There have been improvements in data collection and transmission since the earlier proposals, according to the FMCSA.

The agency does not expect the proposal to adversely affect CMV safety. The distribution of the MVR also has become more reliable and efficient, according to the agency, and the annual MVR inquiry would continue to provide a reliable way for motor carriers to learn of their drivers’ convictions for traffic violations.

The agency also stated it had conducted outreach and education with courts and judges, which has improved the transmission of convictions from courts to state driver’s licensing agencies.

Comments are due to the FMCSA by February 12, 2021.

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