The FAST Act highway bill that was signed on Dec 4th includes a potential addition named “Beyond Compliance”. Additional details can be found in this section such as requirements by Congress for FMSCA to build a stimulatory system to credit carriers who invest into the safety of their operations. Congress gave FMSCA 18 months to address these requirements.
The following actions are proposed as the ones carriers should be credited for:
Advanced safety equipment installation
Using various safety tools, such as safety management programs and technologies
Driver fitness measures
Other actions that satisfy standards by the Administrator that are not specified yet
The idea is not exactly new. In April 2015 FMCSA was looking for the comments on the initiative to encourage carriers to go beyond safety regulations. They have discussed crediting them for measures like installing collision mitigation systems, E-logs and speed limiters. Other proposed measures are different kinds of training for drivers and compensation models like stimulatory programs.
It was also proposed that a third party should administer the program but it is up for the agency to decide.
There are some challenges that the implementation can meet. For instance, it could become just a way to reward some carriers for what they already do anyway. Also only larger fleets usually get the technologies that have been mentioned above as it is a big investment.
The American Trucking Association recognizes these challenges but approves the new approach that uses not enforcement but encouraging as means to keep the roads safer.