Trucking groups have united in urging Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to order the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to rescind a proposed rule issued in January 2016 that would institute a new carrier rating system based on carriers’ scores in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.
In a Feb. 15 letter to Chao, a large and wide-ranging group of industry stakeholders said the proposed Safety Fitness Determination rule should come only after FMCSA revamps the CSA system itself, due to the inconsistencies and flaws of the current CSA Safety Measurement System and its BASICs.
“Our major concern with the proposal is that the new proposed methodology utilizes flawed [CSA/SMS] data and scores,” the letter’s signatories write.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by FMCSA in January 2016 followed Congress’ removal of CSA/SMS percentiles from public view, ordering then a study and potential revamp of the program, by little more than a month.
That’s study’s results have been slow in coming to light, and at the time of the SFD NPRM, a smaller coalition within the trucking industry alleged the NPRM itself was a violation of the December 2015 FAST Act highway bill, which included language prohibiting developing a safety-rating rule that utilized percentiles and category alerts. Though DOT pushed back on that contention, the broad-based nature of this latest letter’s signatories is evidence it’s taken hold in a much bigger way a year later.
An eight-member coalition petitioned the agency last January to have the the rulemaking suspended. Another push was made in March by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
The latest letter brings in a large variety of state and private industry associations, including the American Trucking Associations, OOIDA, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies and Western States Trucking Association, among many others. The broad nature of the signatories “should indicate how seriously everyone views this issue,” says WSTA’s head of regulatory affairs, Joe Rajkovacz. “And the hope that with new leadership in Washington, legitimate industry concerns will finally be dealt with positively.”