American Trucking Associations called on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to be more candid and transparent in its evaluations of the strengths and weaknesses of its safety monitoring and measurement program Compliance, Safety, Accountability.
Specifically, ATA released a white paper (available here) outlining several examples of how the agency highlights the benefits of CSA but could provide a clearer picture of the program's weaknesses.
"ATA's members are supportive of CSA's objectives, but they are also eager to see FMCSA make much needed improvements," said ATA Vice President for Safety Policy Rob Abbott. "However, the first step in that process is a candid acknowledgement of the program's limitations.
"Appropriate and effective recommendations will only come from fully informed participants, and it is our sincere hope that the subcommittee members will be provided with a balanced and complete assessment of the program, including its limitations," he said.
ATA released its paper the same day that a subcommittee of FMCSA's Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee is meeting to discuss recommended improvements to CSA.
In its paper, ATA points out:
- Carriers' scores in three of CSA's seven measurement categories (43 percent of the system) do not effectively identify future crash risk;
- FMCSA only has sufficient violation data to assign a percentile rank (in at least one category) to 12 percent of active carriers;
- And as a recent analysis by the American Transportation Research Institute highlighted: perceived safety risk is heavily dependent on the amount of data available on each motor carrier and it is wrong to conclude that carriers with insufficient data to be scored are safer than those that have reported data.
"In the spirit of providing a balanced assessment of CSA, we also hope FMCSA honors MCSAC's request that the subcommittee hear from independent researchers who have studied the relationships between CSA scores and crash risk," Abbott said. "Achieving CSA's goal of reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities is of mutual concern to all stakeholders. Understanding if CSA effectively identifies carriers likely to cause crashes that result in injuries and fatalities should be the first step toward achieving this goal."