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
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
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. If a new agency is created, it should
have the word "safety" within its title.