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*6/22/2017 Update: Please see the Talking Points and Agenda (Click to view here)

Re: Progress Report and Where We Go From Here
In 2011, we were identified as the “lunatic fringe” by Washington D.C. insiders who supported SMS methodology.  62 trade associations joined with us in supporting the premise that SMS methodology was inaccurate and unfit.
Although we have won this battle, the war is far from over.  Congress required the National Academies of Sciences to conduct a review of the program and required the agency to address particular concerns voiced by the GAI, IG and others before further implementation. 
The NAS study is due shortly, but the agency shows no sign of relenting.  In fact, it has doubled down by suggesting that the new carrier audit should be abandoned.  At the same time, it is using focused audits, rather than the compliance review required by regulation and steadfastly refuses to issue satisfactory safety ratings when it cannot issued a conditional or unsatisfactory rating to a targeted carrier.
The problems with this approach are manifold.  Congress required the agency to provide safety ratings for all carriers and the statute requires that the safety rating, nothing else, be published for use by the shipper and broker community.  The basic principle of “fit to operate is fit to use” has been undermined by the agency’s failure to do its job and its insistence that shippers and brokers should second guess it in the name of safety.
Fortunately the new administration has given us the opportunity to go on the offensive and suggest regulatory reform which is necessary to repeal and replace past bureaucratic overreach.
The FMCSA, the DOT, and the SBA all are required to accept comments, review existing regulations and propose only new regulations which are carefully vetted to protect the interests of small businesses (express language applicable to the FMCSA is in the FAST Act).
The time has come for ASECTT to redefine its mission as including not only relief from SMS methodology which has been shown to be ineffective in identifying bad actors, but also confirming that it is the agency’s job to issue a safety rating for all carriers and proposing a system for doing so which is a fair, reasonable and economical alternative to SMS.
We presented such a program to the agency in response to its SFD proposal which the agency has now withdrawn without comment.  In the past week, the agency hastily announced that its MCSAC would hear regulatory reform issues on Monday and Tuesday, June 12 and 13.  We acted quickly with our coalition colleagues to prepare a list of initiatives which we were given only 2 minutes to present. Our talking points and agenda items are attached.
If ASECTT is to make a difference, we must play offense and offer constructive programs which fit our name “The Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation.” 
Please review the attached.  Our membership is diverse.  We welcome your comments about our agenda.  As you can see, we have included, in addition to replacing SMS with a “new entrant-like biannual audit” other important items.  They include establishing an independent judicial branch of DOT to handle administrative matters and judicial appeals, eliminating the use of guidance in lieu of following the Administrative Procedures Act, recognition that it is the agency’s job, not the shipper’s, to determine carrier fitness, and whether by regulatory or legislative action establishing that the doctrine of preemption requires that federal law “trumps” the application of state law to establish up-supply chain liability in accident suits, in misclassification of owner-operator actions, and in state overtime and other employment law situations.
Please respond by indicating whether you support these initiatives or wish to be dropped as an ASECTT member.  If you are willing and interested in serving on a reconstituted steering committee, please also indicate on the survey.
Thank you,
Tom Sanderson


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