UPDATE: HOUSE AND SENATE CONFEREES RELEASE CONFERENCE REPORT ON FAST ACT (H.R. 22)
Today, House and Senate Conferees to the surface transportation reauthorization bill released a conference report to H.R. 22, which is now known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The FAST Act removes several dangerous provisions, improves upon other anti-safety measures, but, unfortunately, still includes some troubling provisions. We are extremely thankful to the Members of Congress on the Conference Committee that listened to the facts and to your calls and emails; this effort is evidenced by the positive changes made to the final bill.
Significant improvements include:
- Removal of the provision limiting shipper and broker liability in hiring decisions
- Removal of the section allowing greater exemptions to hours of service requirements for classes of truck drivers
- Removal of the Denham Amendment, which would have prohibited states from providing further meal and break protections for drivers
Language improvements include:
- Conferees removed some of the overly burdensome hurdles that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) would have to go through in order to determine whether minimum insurance for large trucks should be raised, such as studying the impact on attorney fees and small businesses.
- Instead of requiring that crash causation be factored into CSA, the FAST Act now requires that crash weighting determination is to be reviewed by the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) before being implemented, and that the definition of preventability is to be used.
- The teen drivers provision was also changed, now restricted to a three year pilot program of veterans and servicemen above the age of 18. Congress greatly restricted the amount of higher-risk drivers that would be allowed to drive trucks across state lines.
Anti-safety provisions that remain include:
- Weight exemptions for logging, milk products, and natural gas vehicles.
- Hiding CSA scores from public view and implementing a “beyond compliance” option that may impact SMS ratings that are part of the CSA system.
Overall, the enhancements to the final bill show that our voices were heard, and we are thankful to the Members of Congress and their staffs that listened. While we did not get all of the anti-safety language out of the FAST Act, the current safety title is a much-needed improvement over the ones included in the House and Senate bills. Thank you for all your efforts – collectively we made a difference and greatly improved this Act.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions at 703-294-6404
The Truck Safety Coalition Team
Truck Safety Coalition | 2020 14th St N | Suite 710 | Arlington | VA | 22201