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Driver issuesNewsTop StoriesTrucking Regulation

FMCSA ends requirement for traffic violation lists

Final rule will save drivers, carriers $3.5 million per year, according to agency

Truck drivers will no longer have to provide employers with a list each year of their traffic violations, a federal rule change that drew overwhelming support from drivers and carriers.

“This requirement is largely duplicative of a separate rule that requires each motor carrier to make an annual inquiry to obtain the motor vehicle record (MVR) for each driver it employs from every state in which the driver holds or has held a CMV [commercial motor vehicle] operator’s license or permit in the past year,” the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated in its final rule, scheduled to be published on Wednesday.

For drivers licensed in Mexico or Canada, the agency is amending the rule “to provide that motor carriers must make an annual inquiry to each driver’s licensing authority where a driver holds or has held a CMV operator’s license or permit.”

As FMCSA pointed out when it proposed the change in December 2020, current regulations require that drivers employed by a motor carrier must give to their employer an annual list of traffic violations — other than parking violations — of which the driver has been convicted or for which the driver has forfeited bond or collateral during the past year.

If a driver has no violations during that period, he or she must certify to their employer that that’s the case. Employers, in turn, must file the list of violations (or certification of no violations) in the driver’s qualification file.

However, carriers already are required to conduct an annual inquiry and review of their drivers’ driving records — thus the reason for the change.

To maintain consistency with federal rules, FMCSA will require that drivers report on their employment application the issuing driver’s licensing authority of each unexpired CMV operator’s license or permit they have been issued so that their carrier can make the required inquiries.

Because drivers will no longer spend time completing a list of convictions for traffic violations — and carriers will no longer have to file them — FMCSA estimated that the new rule will save drivers and carriers $24.9 million over 10 years (discounted for inflation), with annual savings estimated at $3.5 million.

Roughly 80% of those commenting supported the rule, including the American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carriers Association, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, and the Tennessee Trucking Association.

Those opposing the rule — mostly citing safety reasons — misunderstood the proposal, FMCSA stated.

“Many of the commenters understandably confused the [current] requirements … because of their duplicative nature. FMCSA emphasizes that the final rule does not remove the annual requirement for a motor carrier to obtain and review an MVR. Thus, employers still have a way to know the driving records of their drivers and a way to distinguish safe from unsafe drivers.”

The new rule is scheduled to take effect on May 9.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.