The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration now has a new boss.
Raymond P. Martinez, President Trump’s choice to head the agency, has officially assumed the FMCSA’s top post.
The FMCSA is an agency under the U.S. transportation department and regulates the trucking and bus industry in the United States.
Transportation secretary Elaine Chao, who swore Martinez in, said, “Ray’s years of experience promoting traffic safety at the state level, as well as his knowledge of the commercial motor vehicle industry, will help FMCSA fulfill its critical mission of improving truck and bus safety.”
Martinez described his appointment as “an honor and privilege” to serve his fellow Americans as the head of the FMCSA, adding that “under Secretary Chao’s leadership, I look forward to working with all commercial vehicle stakeholders to effectively reduce the number of truck and bus crashes on our nation’s roads.”
During his appearance before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in October, Martinez confirmed supporting the implementation of the ELD mandate.
“The goal is to not cripple commerce. The goal is to make roadways safer,” Martinez said.
Martinez said while he was aware that the mandate could cause “serious hardships to small independent truckers,” he would observe an “open-door policy” and hear out practical suggestions from individuals and groups in the trucking industry on either hours-of-service or ELD exemptions.
He also opposed recording driver hours manually, pointing out that paper logs were prone to falsification.
When asked about his comment on removing the Compliance, Safety, Accountability scores from public access, Martinez batted for transparency, adding that “the data does have to be accurate in order to be effective for the consumer and to be fair to the industries regulated.”
Martinez said that he would review research on CSA to determine “appropriate changes.”
He explained that the CSA should be “more precise” in assessing risks of a crash faced by fleets.
Martinez also said that he would implement “data-driven policies” that would be fair to everyone.
“Implementation of laws and promulgating regulations should be done with the best information available, and must be viewed by stakeholders as reasonable, rational and fair.”
Martinez chaired the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in 2010 until his appointment as the FMCSA administrator. In his capacity as Chairman of the commission, Martinez advised the governor and state legislature on traffic safety and transportation matters.
He also drafted the regulatory and legislative agenda of the commission.
Martinez has also worked for the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the Department of State, and the White House as deputy protocol chief.
Martinez replaced Scott Darling as the FMCSA chief. Darling led the agency during the last couple of years of Barack Obama’s administration.
When Trump became President in January 2017, deputy administrator Daphne Jefferson assumed as the interim FMCSA head until her retirement on November 3. After Jefferson left, Cathy Gautreaux led the agency.
A firm backer of the ELD rule, Martinez has assumed the leadership of the FMCSA after being sworn into office last February 28.
Now that Martinez sits at the helm of the FMCSA, fleets that have not yet procured ELDs are encouraged to start transitioning immediately — especially before the April 1 deadline. After April 1, 2018, drivers without ELDs will face severe penalties, including damage to CSA scores and out-of-service criteria enforcement.