ATA Challenges Reliability of CSA Safety Monitoring

The Board of Directors for American Trucking Associations called on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to make changes to its safety-monitoring system Compliance Safety Accountability. The board and members said the unreliability of CSA scores, the loose or, at times, inverse connection to crash risk, as well as FMCSA’s unwillingness to frankly discuss the program's weaknesses is troubling and needs to be addressed.

“From the outset, ATA has supported FMCSA’s efforts to improve its enforcement capabilities through CSA,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “Through CSA’s development and implementation the agency had been responsive to suggestions and made an effort to improve the program as needed. However, recently our members have become concerned that the agency has become increasingly unresponsive, even in the face of data and logic.”

“We are all concerned with safety and agree that FMCSA should do everything in its power to enforce the rules,” ATA Chairman Dan England, chairman of C.R. England, Salt Lake City, said. “However, it is becoming increasingly clear that parts of the program are in need of serious revision—particularly before FMCSA begins using them to generate publicly available fitness scores.”

Among the issues ATA has identified for reform are: crash accountability, the lack of research proving increased crash risk for all of CSA's various violation categories and the publication of carriers' scores in those categories.

“If it were improved, CSA could be a powerful tool to improve trucking's already impressive safety record,” said Michael Card, president, Combined Transport Inc., Central Point, Ore. “That is a goal ATA can clearly support, but if FMCSA continues to insist on pressing forward with the program without addressing industry's concerns, ATA will have no choice but to explore all avenues of ensuring the program is improved to actually meet its stated, and worthy, objectives.”

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