The FMCSA is required to determine if a commercial driver or operator is safe. Due to current conditions, the agency has published a guidance document that amends some on-site requirements for conducting required compliance reviews under 49 CFR part 385, subpart A (not subpart B). This guidance is effective immediately, and will remain active until further notice.
According to this document, the FMCSA will use “all available technology to access information and records and thus limit exposure risk for the regulated community and safety investigators. Using the same standards otherwise applicable, FMCSA will assign safety ratings following a compliance review even if no on-site review activities have taken place. FMCSA will continue to apply the procedures in 49 CFR part 385, including the Safety Fitness Rating Methodology (SFRM) in Appendix B, prior to assigning a safety rating.”
Although “compliance review” is defined as “on-site” in 49 CFR 385.3, modern technology now enables the FMCSA to conduct reviews remotely, just as it would in person. Today, many motor carriers maintain electronic records in any case and typically submit them to the FMCSA from the carrier’s chosen application.
The FMCSA will also communicate via email, video conferencing and traditional phone calls to carry out the review to further limit exposure.