FMCSA Chief Safety Officer Rose A. McMurray

Upcoming FMCSA Rule Will Address In-Vehicle Distractions

Once the agency's proposed rule to ban text messaging while driving is finished, a second rule will cover dispatch systems, using CB radios, and more to reduce risk while allowing legitimate communication, Chief Safety Officer Rose A. McMurray told the National Association of Small Trucking Companies.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's proposed rule to prevent commercial vehicle operators from texting while they drive won’t be the end of the agency’s efforts to prevent distracted driving. Speaking June 11 to the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC), FMCSA Chief Safety Officer Rose A. McMurray said a rule then will be proposed to address other in-vehicle distractions, including dispatch systems and CB radios. She said the agency wants to "develop a competent and coherent proposal that reduces risk but doesn't unnecessarily affect the legitimate needs for communication with and by, the driver," according to a transcript posted June 17 by FMCSA.

McMurray focused most of her remarks on CSA 2010, which is FMCSA's comprehensive safety analysis 2010 and will be in effect next month. A major change from the current system of roadside inspections and motor carrier audits, CSA 2010 expands the measures currently being used to assess a carrier’s safety and will identify potential problem carriers earlier, allowing FMCSA to contact them and direct them to improve, according to the agency.

NASTC is based in Hendersonville, Tenn., and represents more than 2,000 trucking companies. It predicts CSA 2010 compliance will be more difficult for small carriers than the current scheme and is urging member companies to take several proactive steps to be ready for it, including orienting new hires about the hours of service regulations, having "flawless compliance" on drug and alcohol testing, checking new hires' backgrounds more carefully, training drivers on an ongoing basis, inspecting trucks and trailers more frequently than once a year, and maintaining an ongoing driver awareness and safety program.

McMurray, a DOT employee for more than 34 years, was FMCSA's associate administrator for Policy and Program Development before taking her current position. She previously served as associate administrator of Traffic Safety Programs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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