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First Gov  

October 14, 1999

H.R. 2679 - Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1999
(Shuster (R) PA and 3 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly supports legislation to provide additional authority and resources to improve commercial motor vehicle safety. The Administration appreciates that H.R. 2679 includes several elements of its motor carrier safety proposal (introduced as H.R. 2682), including reform of the Commercial Driver's License (CDL) program, increased funding for motor carrier safety, improved data collection, and strengthened enforcement measures.

The Administration would have no objection to House passage of H.R. 2679 if it were amended to:

  • Require new CDL applicants to have alcohol and drug-free driving records for the three years preceding application; require in-vehicle training for new drivers; require on-board recorders where appropriate; and replace the withholding penalty with a provision requiring transfer of up to 5% of a State's Federal-aid highway funds to its Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grant.

  • Remove the mandatory assessment of maximum fines, which would inappropriately limit the Department of Transportation's discretion, and extend current penalties to persons who knowingly aid, abet, or otherwise induce violations of motor carrier safety regulations.

  • Either conform authorized funding levels for MCSAP grants and improved data collection, management, and analysis to the Administration's request, or make all authorizations available to be funded from the Highway Trust Fund.

  • Address the nationwide highway-railroad grade crossing and railroad trespasser problems by: (1) promoting the development of individual railroad notification programs; (2) endorsing the development of model State legislation to deter violations of grade crossing signals; and (3) requiring that States and railroads submit key grade crossing data to the National Highway Rail Crossing Inventory to increase our ability to identify those crossings posing the highest safety risk.

Finally, safety is the Administration's highest priority in motor carrier transportation policy, and the Administration strongly supports the bill's explicit inclusion of this concept. In addition, the Administration supports the creation of a new administration dedicated to motor carrier safety and believes that it should be named the Motor Carrier Safety Administration.