Speaking in Washington, D.C. this past week, FMCSA Deputy Administrator Cathy Gautreaux reflected on the last year and spoke about the agency’s priorities moving forward.
Gautreaux was the keynote speaker at the FMCSA Analysis, Research, and Technology Forum at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board. In her speech, she praised the FMCSA for its successes, calling 2017 “a good year for us.”
As proof, she noted the rise in the use of safety belts by truck and bus drivers – up from 65% in 2007 to 86% in 2016. And despite reports of lackluster compliance rates, lawsuits, exemption requests, and multiple pieces of legislation seeking to dismantle or postpone the ELD mandate, Gautreaux also claimed “the rollout of the ELD rule was a success.”
Indeed, according to Gautreaux, the FMCSA will stand firm on all safety-related regulations. But the agency will make it a priority to ease regulations where they can – especially when it comes to technology.
“Technology is the next frontier,” she said. “We are on the cusp of revolutionary changes in the way we move both people and freight, and I am excited for what the future holds. That’s why I am looking forward to the several projects we are working on that are related to driver-assisted technologies. I expect the work on these projects to move forward this year and in 2019.”
While Gautreaux has only served as the FMCSA’s number two since November, she seems to have a clear idea of the agency’s agenda moving forward – deregulation for private sector investment and new technologies, but a hard line on maintaining what the agency views as safety regulations.
“21st century transportation technology [is] a bright part of our future that will make us the envy of the world,” Gautreaux concluded. “Working together in partnership with our public and private sector partners to do so as safely as possible is paramount to our mission. We all have roles to play to make this vision a reality. I look forward to working with our partners as we advance these goals and priorities.”