83 FR 32950 - Agency Information Collection Activities; New Information Collection: Truck and Bus Maintenance Requirements and Their Impact on Safety

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Federal Register Volume 83, Issue 136 (July 16, 2018)

Page Range32950-32952
FR Document2018-15151

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, FMCSA announces its plan to submit the Information Collection Request (ICR) described below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its review and approval and invites public comment. This new request titled ``Truck and Bus Maintenance Requirements and Their Impact on Safety'' will allow for a study that focuses on vehicle maintenance and aims to determine the impact of vehicle maintenance requirements on overall motor carrier safety. This information collection supports the DOT Strategic Goal of Safety.

Federal Register, Volume 83 Issue 136 (Monday, July 16, 2018)
[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 136 (Monday, July 16, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32950-32952]
From the Federal Register Online  [www.thefederalregister.org]
[FR Doc No: 2018-15151]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2018-0189]


Agency Information Collection Activities; New Information 
Collection: Truck and Bus Maintenance Requirements and Their Impact on 
Safety

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, FMCSA 
announces its plan to submit the Information Collection Request (ICR) 
described below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its 
review and approval and invites public comment. This new request titled 
``Truck and Bus Maintenance Requirements and Their Impact on Safety'' 
will allow for a study that focuses on vehicle maintenance and aims to 
determine the impact of vehicle maintenance requirements on overall 
motor carrier safety. This information collection supports the DOT 
Strategic Goal of Safety.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before September 14, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket Number FMCSA-2018-0189 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Operations; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. e.t., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and 
docket number. For detailed instructions on submitting comments, see 
the Public Participation heading below. Note that all comments received 
will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including 
any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading 
below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov, and follow the 
online instructions for accessing the dockets, or go to the street 
address listed above.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information 
the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.
    Public Participation: The Federal eRulemaking Portal is available 
24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can obtain electronic 
submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the ``help'' section 
of the Federal eRulemaking Portal website. If you want us to notify you 
that we received your comments, please include a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope or postcard, or print the acknowledgement page that 
appears after submitting comments online. Comments received after the 
comment closing date will be included in the docket and will be 
considered to the extent practicable.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Quon Y. Kwan, Program Manager, 
Technology Division, Department of Transportation, OA, West Building 
6th

[[Page 32951]]

Floor, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: 202-
385-2389; email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Background: FMCSA's core mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, 
and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. To aid in 
accomplishing this, the Agency uses the Compliance, Safety, 
Accountability (CSA) enforcement program to prioritize and target 
interventions of those motor carriers who are most likely to be 
involved in a future crash. As part of the CSA program, the Agency 
deploys the Safety Measurement System (SMS). SMS uses inspection, 
crash, and investigation data captured in the Motor Carrier Management 
Information System (MCMIS) to calculate a percentile for each motor 
carrier. A motor carrier's SMS percentile is based on its past 
compliance with a complete range of safety-based regulations (such as 
driver safety, hours of service, driver fitness, and vehicle 
maintenance, among others). The survey described in this notice focuses 
on the vehicle maintenance component of those safety regulations. The 
study goal is to determine what improvements, ranging from better 
compliance interventions to better vehicle maintenance requirements, 
would enhance motor carrier safety.
    In 2014, the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center 
(Volpe) conducted a study to assess the effectiveness of SMS in 
identifying the highest risk motor carriers to be targeted for 
interventions. One finding from the study was that motor carriers 
targeted for intervention due to ``vehicle maintenance'' issues (i.e., 
violations) had a 65 percent higher crash rate compared to the national 
average. These violations are based on Federal and state inspections of 
components critical to the safe operation of the vehicle. It is 
important to recognize that proper and regular preventative maintenance 
(i.e., systematic maintenance programs) among carriers--rather than 
Federal and state inspections, which are by nature limited to the most 
visible or obvious safety-related components--should be the primary 
activity applied to ensure safe equipment operation.
    While these initial findings are important, they raise additional 
questions. One such question is prompted by the stipulation in 49 CFR 
396.3(a), which states that every carrier must have a program to 
``systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be 
systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles 
and intermodal equipment subject to its control.'' Though this 
regulation provides some direction, there is no supporting definition 
of the word ``systematic,'' and because this term is subjective, it is 
likely to vary from one carrier to another. The lack of specificity 
regarding standard intervals for preventative maintenance makes it 
difficult for federal and state personnel to evaluate the effectiveness 
of and compliance with a carrier's maintenance program. Furthermore, 
the lack of specificity may make it difficult for carriers to ascertain 
and therefore comply with the regulation's intent.
    The current research effort, augmented by the proposed survey, is 
necessary to improve FMCSA's understanding of the safety impact of 
preventative vehicle maintenance and to clarify the requirements of 
section 396.3(a). The study objectives are as follows:
    1. Develop an operational definition of ``systematic maintenance.''
    2. Evaluate whether current regulations and the intervention 
process could be modified to improve compliance with vehicle 
maintenance requirements. Examples of such requirements are as follows: 
(i) Preventative maintenance intervals, (ii) preventative maintenance 
inspections with adequately trained/equipped mechanics, and (iii) 
adequacy of motor carriers' maintenance facilities. [However, the 
results of the survey will be used only to explore what areas of 
rulemaking and/or other areas, such as policy guidance and training, 
might be useful in the future; the results of the survey will not be 
used for rulemaking, per se.]
    3. Gather information to assist in establishing minimum standards 
for inspection intervals, mechanic qualifications and training, and 
certification of maintenance facilities.
    FMCSA is authorized to conduct this research under 49 U.S.C. 31108, 
Motor Carrier Research and Technology Programs. Under section 
31108(a)(3)(C), FMCSA may fund research, development, and technology 
projects that improve the safety and efficiency of commercial motor 
vehicle operations through technological innovation and improvement. 
This information collection supports the U.S. Department of 
Transportation (USDOT) strategic goal of Safety.
    Under contract to FMCSA, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute 
(VTTI) at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VT) 
will use online surveys to obtain the data required to address the 
study objectives. The information collection will be administered in 
two phases:
    Phase I: Online Recruitment Survey. This voluntary, seven-question 
survey will screen carriers and verify their eligibility for Phase II 
participation. To be eligible for Phase II participation, carriers must 
fall into one of two groups: (a) The Recommended Practices (RP) Group, 
which includes carriers with the lowest Vehicle Maintenance and Crash 
Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) 
percentiles (i.e., less than or equal to the 33rd percentile); or (b) 
the Intervention Effects (IE) Group, which includes carriers that have 
experienced Federal or State interventions in the last 24 months due to 
vehicle maintenance violations. The BASICs are Unsafe Driving, Crash 
Indicator, Hours-of-Service (HOS) compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, 
Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance, and 
Driver Fitness. More information on the SMS methodology can be found at 
https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMSMethodology.pdf.
    Phase II: Carrier Maintenance Management Survey. This voluntary, 
106-question survey will include questions about demographics; 
maintenance practices, intervals, personnel, and facilities; and State 
and Federal inspections, among other things. The Phase II survey will 
employ branch logic; as such, carriers will be prompted to complete 
different sections based on their survey group (and for one section, 
carrier size). Consequently, no participating carrier will be asked to 
complete all 106 questions.
    In the Phase II survey, carriers (of all sizes) in the RP Group 
will be asked to provide additional information about maintenance 
personnel and facilities (e.g., mechanic training levels, tools 
required for adequate inspection, and certification of facilities) and 
vehicle maintenance issues that may impact safety. Information from the 
RP Group will seek to address Objective 1, relating to development of 
an operational definition of ``systematic maintenance,'' Objective 2, 
and Objective 3, relating to establishment of minimum standards for 
inspection intervals, mechanic qualifications and training, and 
certification of maintenance facilities.
    Carriers in the IE Group will be asked to complete the section on 
intervention effects, which includes questions about the status of 
active interventions or investigations; results of closed interventions 
or investigations; interactions with State versus Federal agencies; 
intervention activities experienced; the accuracy of violations leading 
to interventions; actions taken in response to interventions; changes 
in

[[Page 32952]]

carrier vehicle maintenance practices as a result of an intervention; 
significant benefits of interventions; and ways the intervention 
process could be improved. Information provided by the IE Group will 
address the portion of Objective 2 regarding sufficiency of regulations 
and where interventions need to be improved to facilitate complying 
with these regulations.
    Survey responses will be summarized and reported using plots, 
tables, content analysis, and calculated summary statistics. Plots and 
tables will provide a visual comparison of multiple choice and checkbox 
survey responses for successful carriers (i.e., carriers in the RP 
Group) and those receiving interventions in the last 24 months (i.e., 
carriers in the IE Group). These methods will also allow researchers to 
summarize responses by carrier operation type (i.e., truck or bus) and 
size. Bar charts will be used to plot responses to many survey 
questions. Some survey responses may be summarized with tables with 
rows for each of the carrier operation types (truck or bus) and each 
carrier-size subgroup. To explore and summarize responses to open-ended 
survey questions, researchers will use content analysis methods. An 
illustration of an open-ended question in the survey is ``List examples 
of critical safety-related maintenance activities for trailer vehicle 
milestones.'' The goal of content analysis of open-ended questions will 
be to identify common answers.
    The results of this information collection will be documented in a 
technical report to be delivered to and published by FMCSA. In 
addition, the results will be used to create a ``recommended best 
practices'' report that will outline minimum standards for inspection 
intervals, mechanic qualifications and training, and certification of 
maintenance facilities. Finally, VTTI is required under the contract 
with FMCSA to compile and analyze the collected information and develop 
a public-use data set.
    This ICR is for a one-time data collection. If this data collection 
does not take place, the truck and bus industry would continue to 
operate with the uncertainty of what a ``systematic maintenance'' 
program, as currently worded in section 396.3(a), consists of. This 
term's ambiguous definition makes it difficult for federal and state 
inspectors to evaluate the effectiveness of a carrier's maintenance 
program or its compliance with this provision. Furthermore, this 
uncertainty may make it difficult for carriers to ascertain and 
therefore comply with the regulation's intent.
    Title: Truck and Bus Maintenance Requirements and Their Impact on 
Safety.
    OMB Control Number: 2126-XXXX.
    Type of Request: New information collection.
    Respondents: Freight motor carriers and passenger carriers.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 578 respondents [578 respondents 
will complete the Online Recruitment Survey. Of those 578 respondents, 
289 will also complete the Carrier Maintenance Manager Survey].
    Estimated Time per Response: Varies [Online Recruitment Survey: 5 
minutes. Carrier Maintenance Manager Survey: 45 minutes].
    Expiration Date: 3 years after approval.
    Frequency of Response: Once.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden: 265 hours [Online Recruitment 
Survey: 578 respondents x (5 minutes / 60 minutes) = 48 hours; Carrier 
Maintenance Manager Survey: 289 respondents x (45 minutes / 60 minutes) 
= 217 hours].
    Public Comments Invited: You are asked to comment on any aspect of 
this information collection, including: (1) Whether the proposed 
collection is necessary for the performance of FMCSA's functions; (2) 
the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways for FMCSA to enhance the 
quality, usefulness, and clarity of the collected information; and (4) 
ways that the burden could be minimized without reducing the quality of 
the collected information. The agency will summarize or include your 
comments in the request for OMB's clearance of this information 
collection.

    Issued under the authority of 49 CFR 1.87 on: July 10, 2018.
Kelly Regal,
Associate Administrator for Office of Research and Information 
Technology.
[FR Doc. 2018-15151 Filed 7-13-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P


Current View
CategoryRegulatory Information
CollectionFederal Register
sudoc ClassAE 2.7:
GS 4.107:
AE 2.106:
PublisherOffice of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration
SectionNotices
ActionNotice and request for comments.
DatesWe must receive your comments on or before September 14, 2018.
ContactQuon Y. Kwan, Program Manager, Technology Division, Department of Transportation, OA, West Building 6th Floor, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: 202- 385-2389; email [email protected]
FR Citation83 FR 32950 

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