Understanding the FAST Act

Jul 17, 2016 | Industry News

FAST Act: Overview

  • Enacted on December 4, 2015 (PL 114-94)
  • Five year bill that sets FMCSA authorization funding levels through FY 2020.
  • MCSAP grant programs will be restructured beginning in FY 2017 along with an increase in MCSAP funding.
  • Operating expense authorization levels slightly increased through FY 2020.
  • Significant number of Agency mandates:
    • Studies: 5
    • Working Groups: 6
    • Rulemaking: 20
    • FMCSA Reports to Congress: 15

FAST Act: Rulemakings

  • 5106(b) MCSAP Allocation
  • 5301 Windshield Technology
  • 5401(a) Opportunities for Veterans Interim Final Rule
  • 5401(c) Opportunities for Veterans
  • 5402 (a) Drug Free Commercial Drivers
  • 5403 Medical Certification of Veterans
  • 5107(c) Maintenance of Effort Calculation
  • 5501(b) Delays in Goods Movement
  • 5107(a) Maintenance of Effort Calculation
  • 7208 Hazardous Materials Endorsement
  • 5206(b)(1) Applications
  • 5524 Welding Truck Exemptions
  • 5519 Operators of High Rail Vehicles
  • 5521 Ready Mix Concrete Vehicles
  • 5518 Covered Farm Vehicles
  • 5522 Transportation of Construction Materials and Equipment
  • 5507 Electronic Logging Device Requirements
  • 5205 Inspector Standards
  • 5101(a) Grants to States
  • 5206(a) Applications

FAST Act: Compliance, Safety, Accountability

The FAST Act requires the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science (NAS) to conduct a thorough study of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, specifically the Safety Measurement System (SMS).

Study Requirements

NAS will conduct an independent correlation study of SMS.  The FAST Act has outlined several elements that NAS must analyze and/or consider, including:

  • The accuracy with which the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) identify high risk carriers; and predict or are correlated with future crash risk, crash severity, or other safety indicators for motor carriers, including the high risk carriers;
  • The methodology used to calculate BASIC percentiles and identify carriers for enforcement, including the weights assigned to particular violations and the tie between crash risk and specific regulatory violations, with respect to accurately identifying and predicting future crash risk for motor carriers;
  • The relative value of inspection information and roadside enforcement data;
  • Any data collection gaps or data sufficiency problems that may exist and the impact of those gaps and problems on the efficacy of the CSA program;
  • The accuracy of safety data, including the use of crash data from crashes in which a motor carrier was free from fault;
  • Whether BASIC percentiles for motor carriers of passengers should be calculated separately from motor carriers of freight;
  • The difference in the rates at which safety violations are reported to FMCSA for inclusion in the SMS by various enforcement authorities, including States, territories, and Federal inspectors;
  • How members of the public use the SMS and what effect making the SMS information public has had on reducing crashes and eliminating unsafe motor carriers from the industry;
  • Whether the SMS provides comparable precision and confidence, through SMS alerts and percentiles, for the relative crash risk of individual large and small motor carriers;
  • Whether alternatives to the SMS would identify high risk carriers more accurately; and
  • The recommendations and findings of the Comptroller General of the United States and the Inspector General of the Department and independent review team reports, issued before the date of enactment of the FAST Act.

For further information about the SMS Correlation Study, see the National Academies of Sciences webpage: [external link] .

Within 18 months of the enactment of the FAST Act, FMCSA will submit the results of this study to both Congress and the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Inspector General.  The results will also be published on a publicly-accessible Department of Transportation website.

Post-Study Requirements: If the study report identifies a deficiency or opportunity for improvement, FMCSA will submit a corrective action plan to Congress that will be reviewed by the Inspector General of the Department.

Public Availability of SMS Alerts and Percentiles: As required by Section 5223 of the FAST Act, FMCSA has removed alerts and relative percentiles for property carriers from the public display of the SMS. FMCSA is prohibited from publishing this information until the SMS Correlation Study is complete, and all reporting requirements and certification requirements under the FAST Act are satisfied.

Outcomes: A report to Congress containing study findings; study findings should also be published on a publicly accessible Web site.

Milestones: February 2016: Contract awarded

June 2017: Report to Congress; report published on publicly accessible Web site

Funding: FY 2016: $971,519

Current Status: Project is on schedule. For more details, visit: [external link].

Project Manager: For more information, contact Albert Alvarez of the FMCSA Research Division at (202) 385-2387 or

Contractor:National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences

FAST Act: Working Groups

The FAST Act calls for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to establish several working groups to assist the Agency’s implementation efforts. Working groups required by the FAST Act include:

  • MCSAP Allocation Formula (FAST Section 5106(a)(1))
    • Purpose: To analyze requirements and factors necessary for the establishment of a new allocation formula for the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) and issue a recommendation to the Secretary regarding a new allocation formula for the MCSAP.
    • Membership: Representatives from FMCSA, State commercial motor vehicle safety agencies, an organization representing State agencies responsible for inspection of commercial motor vehicles; and such other persons as the Secretary considers necessary.
  • Preventable Crashes (FAST Section 5225)
    • Purpose: The establishment of this working group is tied to the FAST Act Safety Measurement System (SMS) Correlation Study. No later than 1 year after the Inspector General certifies that the conditions of FAST Act Section 5223(a) are met, the Secretary shall task the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) with reviewing the treatment of preventable crashes under SMS. The working group will make recommendations to the Secretary on a process to allow motor carriers and drivers to request that the Administrator make a determination with respect to the preventability of a crash if such a process has not yet been established, and issue a report to Congress on how the Secretary intends to address the treatment of preventable crashes.
    • Membership: The MCSAC is comprised of 20 members appointed by the Administrator for two-year terms and includes representatives of the motor carrier safety advocacy, safety enforcement, industry, and labor communities.
  • Post-Accident Report (FAST Section 5306(a))
    • Purpose: Review the data elements of post-accident reports, for tow-away accidents involving commercial motor vehicles that are reported to the Federal Government; and to report to the Secretary its findings, including best practices for State post-accident reports.
    • Membership: Not less than 51 percent of the working group shall be composed of individuals representing the States or State law enforcement officials. The remaining members of the working group shall represent industry, labor, safety advocates, and other interested parties.
  • Military Commercial Driver Pilot Program (FAST Section 5404)
    • Purpose: To review the data collected by the Agency in its military commercial driver pilot program and provide recommendations to the Secretary on the feasibility, benefits, and safety impacts of allowing a covered driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
    • Membership: Representatives of the Agency, armed forces, industry, drivers, safety advocacy organizations, and State licensing and enforcement officials.
  • Household Goods Consumer Protection Working Group (FAST Section 5503)
    • Purpose: To develop recommendations on how to best convey to consumers relevant information with respect to Federal laws concerning the interstate transportation of household goods by motor carrier.
    • Membership: Representatives of the Agency, individuals with expertise in consumer affairs, educators with expertise in how people learn most effectively, and representatives of the household goods moving industry.

FAST Act: Authorization Levels

  FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20
MCSAP *$218,000,000 $292,600,000 $298,900,000 $304,300,000 $308,700,000
High Priority Activities Program ** $15,000,000 $42,200,000 $43,100,000 $44,000,000 $44,900,000
CMV Operators ***$1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
CDLPI $30,000,000 $31,200,000 $31,800,000 $32,500,000 $33,200,000
CVISN $25,000,000 Collapses into High Priority Activities FY17-20
BEG $32,000,000 Collapses into MCSAP FY17-20
New Entrant **$32,000,000 Collapses into MCSAP FY17-20
PRISM $5,000,000 Collapses into MCSAP FY17-20
SADIP $3,000,000 Collapses into MCSAP FY17-20

FAST Act: Reports

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