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Trucking groups urge new DOT Secretary to scrap new carrier rating system, citing lingering CSA faults

The Safety Fitness Determination rule’s reliance on CSA scoring — which Congress ordered FMCSA to remove from public view over concerns about scores’ accuracy — is the key reason industry groups want Chao to rescind the January 2016-proposed rule.

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.

Revamped CSA scores likely won’t return for two years, Sec. Foxx says

Revamped CSA scores likely won’t return for two years, Sec. Foxx says

The reforms required by Congress to the federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability carrier ranking system will take about two years to complete, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx ...

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.

Trucking stakeholders urge FMCSA to hold off on Safety Fitness rule until CSA is reworked

Trucking stakeholders urge FMCSA to hold off on Safety Fitness rule until CSA is reworked

Many trucking industry stakeholders weighed in during the FMCSA's Safety Fitness Determination proposed rule comment period, urging the agency to hold off on the rulemaking ...

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.”

Following pressure from trucking industry, lawmakers push back on FMCSA’s Safety Fitness rule

Following pressure from trucking industry, lawmakers push back on FMCSA’s Safety Fitness rule

A group of 33 members of the U.S. House last week sent a letter to senior members of the House’s Appropriations Committee asking them to ...

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Todd Dills is Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine and writes from Nashville, Tenn. He frequently covers business, regulatory and lifestyle topics for the magazine and at OverdriveOnline.com. His work on the “CSA’s Data Trail” series in Overdrive about the federal CSA program was awarded the highest honor in trade journalism – the “Grand Neal” – by American Business Media at the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards. Dills’ Channel 19 blog covers a grab bag of on-highway hearsay, owner-operator news and driver views from the roadways the nation over. His work in trucking journalism builds on a background of news feature, fiction and other creative writing and editing. Find him here at the Channel 19 blog and via his Twitter feed, or send tips to tdills@randallreilly.com or via phone at 205-907-2481.