FMCSA plans to return to public view some CSA scores despite Congress-required revamp of program

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Updated Mar 9, 2016

smsnotpublicAfter pulling down the so-called “absolute” scoring measures in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s publicly available carrier scoring dashboard (the Safety Measurement System) in December, the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration likely will return those absolute scores within the SMS BASICs to public view next month.

FMCSA spokesperson Duane DeBruyne says the update will come sometime in March, adding that the agency is well within the confines of the FAST Act highway bill to do so, citing Section 5223 (c) of the legislation:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, inspection and violation information submitted to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by commercial motor vehicle inspectors and qualified law enforcement officials, out-of-service rates, and absolute measures shall remain available to the public.”

The absolute scores represent a time- and severity-weighted calculation of a carrier’s violation performance in each BASIC. The higher the number, the worse the performance. The percentile ranking carriers receive in each BASIC are directly based on comparing the absolute measures among groups of carriers.

The FAST Act did call for the removal from public view carriers’ percentile rankings in each BASIC, which FMCSA did in December. The agency may still use the percentile rankings internally to target carriers for intervention.

The underlying inspection and violation data and the SMS methodology, however, remain in place despite concerns from a myriad of industry groups and interests who claim the data and the methodology are CSA’s true root flaws.

CCJ sister site Overdrive has more on the subject and analysis of what the return of the absolute measures means for the future of CSA and for carriers — click here to read more.