Destinations Magazine - May/June 2018 - 24

what you think is an inefficient way that we
might be doing current enforcement practices." We are open to that conversation.
While the motorcoach travel and
tourism industry wholly supports
periodic as well as random inspections, the industry is very concerned
about keeping our roads safe for the
traveling public and getting our passengers to their destinations safely
and on time. How can the administration better ensure that the operators
on the road with good safety records
and sound business practices are not
the targets of repeated safety inspections that merely add to costs and
operational disruptions?

is particularly difficult in an industry
dominated by small businesses, as it
can drive up costs and limit business
opportunities. What can FMCSA do to
help the industry with this challenge
by streamlining the CDL testing process and reducing wait times?

I personally experienced this as a motor
vehicle commissioner in New Jersey,
where we had delays in getting CDL
holders through the process. It's very
frustrating when you know there's a need
in the industry and across the board, and
there's a shortage and you have people
who want the jobs. The truth is, it has
become more complicated; the bar has
been set higher, and rightfully so. It is a
tremendous responsibility to be driving

"My primary mission is 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."
I think technology and electronic reporting
are great tools. Data should be leveraged
to focus on the bad actors rather than the
good actors in any industry as a general
approach. And I think the industry understands this as well. While they may see
some of this as a burden, trust me, we don't
have enough manpower to do inefficient
enforcement. So, better use of data helps
us to better prioritize those entities in need
of closer scrutiny. Data is our friend. How
do we gather data? We gather it, obviously,
from our own sources, but also from the
industry. The industry is constantly making
improvements, whether it's purely for safety or for their operational needs, and that's
something I think we can better partner
on. I believe data and the developments in
technology are going to be fruitful areas we
can put to good use in the coming years. 
The private motorcoach industry, like
other modes of transportation, faces
a challenge with recruiting, hiring,
and retaining drivers. This challenge

24

DESTINATIONS

/MAY-JUNE 2018

a commercial vehicle on our roadways
today, especially one carrying passengers.
But there has to be a review, and I think
that's where we are right now. We're
taking a look at the process and asking,
is the process unduly burdensome and
becoming a bar to having good, qualified
drivers available in the industry? It's a
legitimate question. We were working
with AAMVA [American Association of
Motor Vehicle Administrators] to survey
the jurisdictions, to see what the delays
were in the processing. I know from my
personal perspective that it did cause
delays. However, it is not meant in any
way to say we want to create shortcuts
or put unprepared drivers on the road.
Rather, it means we have to look at the
process and see whether there is a way
to do this smarter. I hope I can get some
input from ABA and its members on what
they're seeing out there because I know
they want qualified drivers. They don't
want people who are not properly trained,
but they need people. The industry is

demanding it, and we have to review those
processes. So, I'm looking forward to
working with our state partners to see if
the process is meeting the needs of safety,
primarily, and the industry as well.
Can you tell us how your previous
experience at the state level in New
York and New Jersey will help you in
your new role overseeing FMCSA?

My approach, both in New York and in New
Jersey, in dealing with all of our interested
stakeholders was to have an open-door
policy. I like to go out to meet with the
regulated industry to hear from them. If
that means going to a conference, great, but
it also means meeting with the membership
of those associations, maybe doing a ridealong and seeing what the world is like
from the motorcoach driver's perspective
or visiting a depot to understand what goes
into the maintenance of motorcoaches. My
message to our folks is, "You don't just go
out there to write violations." It's not purely
punitive; it's really to listen and have those
conversations. I take pride in the fact I did
have good working relationships with my
industry partners in both New York and
New Jersey, and I hope to continue this on
a national level.
Research has been an area where
FMCSA has vastly expanded in recent
years and been the impetus of a number of new initiatives. Do you expect
this to continue, and are there any
forthcoming research projects that
will feature or be of interest to the
motorcoach industry?

First of all, stay tuned. I mentioned previously we are becoming more and more a
data-driven organization, as are many areas
of government, and rightly so. It makes us
work smarter, work more efficiently, and it's
not something different than what's already
happening in the industry. I know the way
folks run their businesses is with good, hard
data. They do studies, embrace the information, and slice and dice the information
that they get from running their business
every single day. That's what we're trying to
do. We need the cooperation of the industry
in this regard. I'm not going to talk about
specific areas we are working on, but we
will be talking either through participation



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