ATA again asks FMCSA to make common sense fix to Safety Measurement System

ATA again asks FMCSA to make common sense fix to Safety Measurement System

In comments filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the American Trucking Associations again urged the agency to make a common sense change to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability safety measurement system--the removal of crashes trucking companies and their drivers did not cause.

“ATA identified the inclusion of all crashes, regardless of responsibility, as a serious shortcoming of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability system over five years ago,” the trucking group said in comments filed March 25 (http://is.gd/CSACmmnts). “It is illogical, and a poor use of scarce enforcement resources, to label carriers as unsafe based on crashes they did not cause.”

Currently, FMCSA insists on using all crashes against carriers, even ones the commercial vehicle obviously did not cause like:

• A March 20 fatal crash (http://abcn.ws/1GUmWVc) where a car carrying three off-duty New Jersey police officers driving the wrong way on a divided highway hit a truck;

• A March 20 fatal crash in Texas (http://bit.ly/1btfruB) where a suspected drunk driver driving the wrong way on Interstate 27 hit a truck head on;

• A March 24 fatal crash in Washington DC (http://bit.ly/1COPa4r) where a passenger was killed when a drunk driver struck a parked tractor trailer.

“Merely being struck by another motorist does not make one more likely to strike others,” ATA said in its comments, adding that the goal of CSA should be “to identify the predictive value of crashes in the same way the agency does with violations. Crashes that a commercial motor vehicle driver did not cause are not indicative of the motor carrier’s propensity to cause a future crash.”

Since FMCSA only has enough resources to audit 16,000 trucking companies (3% of the population) annually, the agency must identify and select those that cause crashes, not those struck by others. FMCSA already removes such crashes from consideration when assigning a company’s official safety rating after an audit, but refuses to make a change to the publicly available CSA data intended to reflect safety performance. 

“FMCSA’s failure to address this real flaw is especially egregious in light of its push to make CSA scores easier for the public to access and its encouragement that the public make decisions based on what they know to be faulty information,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “We have raised this issue and Congress has raised this issue. It is time for FMCSA to do what it knows is right make this common sense change.”

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