Destinations Magazine - May/June 2018 - 23

FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez talks
collaboration with ABA and its members

Y

Raymond P.
Martinez was
sworn in on Feb. 28
by U.S. Department
of Transportation
Secretary Elaine L.
Chao as the sixth
administrator for
the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Most recently, he was the New Jersey
Motor Vehicle Commission's chairman and
chief administrator. A graduate of St. John's
University School of Law, he's worked as an
attorney in private practice, is a former
commissioner of the New York State
Department of Motor Vehicles, and also
served at the U.S. Department of State.
Administrator Martinez recently spoke
with Destinations on the FMCSA's role in
ensuring traveler safety, its relationship
with the motor carrier industry, and
priorities and challenges he anticipates
during his tenure.

SHUTTERSTOCK.

As FMCSA administrator, what do you
see as the biggest challenge facing
the surface transportation network at
this time? What is the role of the private motorcoach travel and tourism
industry in assisting with addressing
this challenge?

We are partners in safety. The FMCSA's
primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks
and buses. Clearly, the roadway situation
out there across America is getting more
and more complicated. While safety is
our priority, we know we don't have the
monopoly on it. Private industry has a
significant role to play, and if we're going
to improve safety, we need good working
partnerships with all commercial motor

vehicle operators, whether it's trucks or
in the motorcoach industry. That's my
primary mission: to make sure we have a
strong partnership with the motorcoach
industry, to be focused on improving safety
and reducing fatalities and injuries on our
roadways. That means we have to communicate. It's not just directives from the
FMCSA; it means listening to the industry,
having an open line of communication, and
making sure we don't have an adversarial
relationship, but rather a good working
relationship. And this doesn't happen by
accident. It happens because everybody's
engaged, to make progress.
What are your highest priorities for
your tenure at FMCSA? Do you think
you currently have the resources to
accomplish your goals, and is the
right structure in place?

Of course, resources are always going
to be an issue in the private sector or in
government. We deal with what we have,
and it's always "Do more with less where
you can." However, we do believe we have
the resources necessary to improve safety
because we know it is a priority for the
reputable, respectable members of ABA,
whether it's small operators or large operators. In areas where we can cooperate-
such as better education and training-the
industry should look to us, and we should
look to the industry, as partners in safety.
Of course, there's an enforcement aspect,
but I strongly believe outreach is key. It
really should be an ongoing, 365-daya-year conversation of, "How can we do
this better? How can we move the needle
on improving safety? What is being done
in the motorcoach industry to set higher
standards that don't involve change in law
or change in regulations?"

Can you elaborate on how you see
the regulatory reform process
moving forward at FMCSA, as well
as how you intend to balance a regulatory and enforcement agency's
need to regulate with the current
administration's goal of reducing
burdens for small businesses?

That's an interesting question because we
are a safety organization. People should not
perceive, as we look to review regulations,
that we are in any way stepping back from
safety. This is not a static environment.
Just like in the private sector, things don't
stand still. Technology improves, training
improves, and very often, regulations
become outdated and a hindrance to good
safety practices. What is important is what's
really happening out there on the road. We
have to constantly re-evaluate our regulatory framework, so we are asking, "Why
do we have these regulations in place? Are
they still relevant? Are they still meeting
the purpose they were intended for?" That's
where the conversation becomes valuable.
What I often heard in my previous experience as motor vehicle commissioner in two
states was, on the state level, we had outdated regulations. The private industry folks
impacted by those regulations said, "This
is outdated. We don't do this anymore,"
or "Your folks are wasting time. You're
becoming inefficient in the way you do your
enforcement." The charge we have received
under this administration is to review our
regulations and see where we can either
eliminate, modify, or update regulations to
better serve the safety mission. It is not a
one-way street; it really involves bringing
in the membership of associations like the
American Bus Association. I mean reaching
out to the membership to say, "Tell us what
you think is an outdated regulation. Tell us
MAY-JUNE 2018

\ DESTINATIONS 23



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Destinations Magazine - May/June 2018

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