The end of the year is the time when many people look back at the past 12 months and compile their "best of" lists for books, movies, and music. We at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have a list of our own.
I am proud to say that our long list of accomplishments this year includes three game changers in particular that advance our safety-first mission by cutting the red tape and waste burdening American businesses, offering a helping hand to our soldiers preparing to transition into civilian careers in transportation, and working to improve health and wellness of bus and truck drivers.
Three years ago, President Obama challenged federal agencies to eliminate out-of-date, ineffective, and overly burdensome rules on the private sector. We responded by improving an outdated a rule that is now estimated to save the trucking industry an astonishing $1.7 billion dollars annually and millions of man-hours. The No-Defect Driver Vehicle Inspection Report rule removes the requirement that truck drivers file a report for approximately 95 percent of inspections when equipment problems or safety concerns are not identified.
This requirement accounted for the 19th highest paperwork burden across all federal agencies and now is safely in the rear view mirror.
We have also been steadfast in our support for active duty troops and experienced veterans seeking to transition from military life to civilian careers. We do this because we owe our troops a debt of gratitude and we truly need their skills to fill transportation-related jobs that fuel the economy.
That's why in 2014 we completed the expansion of the Military Skills Test Waiver Program to all 50 states and the District of Columbia so that veterans who drove heavy duty vehicles in the military can obtain a Commercial Driver's License – and find work that fits their experience – without having to take the skills portion of their state's licensing exam. They have a year after separating from the military to take advantage of the waiver program.
So far, our efforts are paying off. More than 6,000 current and former military personnel – including Reserves, National Guard, and U.S. Coast Guard – have already taken advantage of this opportunity and expect more do so every day.
Safe roads depend on healthy drivers – especially those commercial drivers who move people and goods that fuel the economy. In 2014, we successfully launched the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners to ensure that commercial truck and bus drivers who get behind the wheel are healthy enough to perform their job.
Now all new USDOT physicals for commercial drivers must be performed by a certified medical examiners listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The program sets baseline training and testing standards to equip medical examiners with a thorough understanding of DOT fitness standards to ensure that truck and bus drivers meet the health requirements to operate safety on our highways and roads.
I am happy to report that we are nearing our goal of registering 40,000 examiners from coast to coast, including Alaska and Hawaii.
Our work in support of our safety mission does not end on the last day of the year. There is still work to do.
We are not waiting for January 1 to begin working on our New Year's resolutions. We are committed to our Five Big Safety Opportunities for 2015, and they include publishing a final rule on electronic logging devices, full implementation of our Unified Registration System as well as implementation of Phase 3 of our Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, working towards publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking on Safety Fitness Determinations, and modernizing our inspection systems.
And these resolutions we will stick with for the next 365 days.