In the final weeks of the regular session of the Seventieth Texas Legislature (1987), both the house and senate passed bills that authorized the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to adopt and enforce federal motor carrier safety regulations (FMCSR), beginning January 1, 1988. The cost to Texas associated with implementing FMCSR was to be offset by an insurance filing fee, and by an anticipated $2.5 million in federal funding for Fiscal Year 1988 under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP). However, on December 31, 1987, an injunction was sought and granted to enjoin DPS from implementing and enforcing FMCSR. After extensive negotiations among key government officials, DPS announced that the effective date of implementing FMCSR would be postponed until September 1, 1989. One consequence of this postponement was that the U.S. Department of Transportation terminated Texas' MCSAP funding on May 24, 1988; the License and Weight Division of DPS had hired and trained 54 additional officers to conduct increased motor vehicle safety inspections in anticipation of receiving higher levels of MCSAP funding. The seventy-first Texas Legislature (1989) ultimately passed Senate Bill 1204 which took effect October 1, 1989, so as to bring the state in compliance with FMCSR. A complete account of the controversy and its implications is given in this article. The first part offers a comparison of federal and pre-October 1989 Texas motor carrier safety regulations. The second part traces the legislative history and events leading up to delayed implementation of FMCSR. An analysis of the arguments is also presented. The analysis includes an evaluation of the relative merits of adopting FMCSR, estimates of intrastate motor carrier compliance costs, and estimates of the safety benefits to be realized by the state under the assumption of a 10% reduction in motor carrier vehicle accidents. Afterwards, an account is presented of the experiences of five states in implementing different aspects of FMCSR. The article ends with some concluding remarks about the likely consequences of implementing SB 1204.

Media Info

  • Features: Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 51-71
  • Serial:

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00490704
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 31 1990 12:00AM