Independent review team tells FMCSA it needs to revamp CSA program

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Updated Jul 1, 2015

Fmcsa Would, Following Implementation Of Its Safety Fitness Determination Rule, Use Data From Roadside Inspections And Elsewhere To Produce Absolute Scores For Carriers

The large, complex carrier measurement and ranking system that makes up the DOT’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program is out of sync with real-word crash risk and needs to be realigned to better predict carrier’ safety, says a new report made public this week.

The report, issued by a so-called independent review team, was actually completed and given to the U.S. DOT last July, but the department just made it public June 30. It came in response to a 2013 call by the National Transportation Safety Board for an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s carrier oversight practices.

NTSB said in its 2013 report that FMCSA had missed the mark in trying to remove bad actor carriers from U.S. roadways, citing four major fatal crashes in which FMCSA clearly had enough red flags to take action on the carriers at fault but did not.

And while the independent review team’s study covered FMCSA’s oversight as a whole, it keyed in on the CSA program and areas it needs to be fixed.

The committee’s main recommendation to the agency is to hurry the long-awaited Safety Fitness Determination rule to implementation, as it is expected to help better sync CSA scores with crash risk.

The report also recommends FMCSA find ways to (1) better focus its resources to investigate carriers deemed high risk by CSA, (2) improve the data quality that determines CSA rankings and (3) ensure on-site compliance reviews focus on quality rather than quantity.

Click here to read the full report. The recommendations are outlined within the first five pages, though the report itself is upwards of 50 pages.

The issuance of the report comes just a day after FMCSA published proposed changes to CSA and its Safety Measurement System. The proposed changes, said FMCSA, should allow it to use CSA more effectively and focus more attention on the parts within CSA that show positive correlation to future crash risk.