CSA tweaks, e-log mandate top FMCSA priorities for rest of year, says FMCSA’s Darling

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Scott Darling’s memo to his staff last week said some changes to CSA and publication of rules to mandate electronic logging device and set up another carrier scoring system are top priorities for the rest of 2015.Scott Darling’s memo to his staff last week said some changes to CSA and publication of rules to mandate electronic logging device and set up another carrier scoring system are top priorities for the rest of 2015.

In an internal memo circulated to FMCSA employees last week, the agency’s Acting Administrator Scott Darling laid out the regulator’s rest-of-year priorities, highlighted by small changes to CSA and publishing a rule to mandate electronic logging devices.

Darling said the agency will be changing the algorithm used in the Safety Measurement System carrier percentile rankings, the key component of the CSA program. A preview will be available “in the coming months,” he said, which presumably will allow carriers to view their percentile rankings under the new algorithm before the changes go live.

The changes will help the agency better target at-risk carriers, Darling says.

He also said the agency is preparing to launch two new CSA-related intervention tactics, referring to them in his letter as “off-site investigations and cooperative safety plans.” The agency is currently training federal and state enforcers for the new investigations, he said.

Lastly, FMCSA plans to implement “a new type of investigation,” Darling writes, that will try to find pre-crash behavioral trends of carriers and drivers.

Darling also said the agency has prioritized highly the publication of a Final Rule on electronic logging devices. The rule is currently under review with the White Houses’ Office of Management and Budget, expected to clear in the coming days, as reported by CCJ last week. The rule is forecasted by the DOT to be published Oct. 30, which would make its effective date late October 2017.

Darling said other 2015 priorities include publication of a proposed Safety Fitness Determination rule, launching a new inspection software for enforcers and implementing the years-in-the-making Unified Registration System, stemming from the agency’s 2013 rule, which you can read more about at this link.

The Safety Fitness Determination would set the agency up to produce absolute safety scores for carriers, working at least in part with CSA’s Safety Measurement System and drawing from a similar data well of roadside inspections, violation history, on-site inspections and more.