The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is on the right track in addressing several concerns the trucking industry raised about the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, according to American Trucking Associations (ATA) officials.
“It is refreshing when a regulatory agency listens to the concerns of those most impacted by their actions, so we should take time to praise FMCSA for taking steps to address issues ATA has raised,” says Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “In looking more closely at violation severity weights, for instance, FMCSA is taking some steps to make sure CSA achieves its stated goal of targeting carriers with increased crash risk.”
FMCSA’s announced changes include renaming the “Fatigued Driving” category of violations to “Hours-of-Service Compliance” to reflect that most violations are not for fatigued driving, but are paperwork-related infractions and renaming the “Hazardous Materials” category “Hazardous Materials Compliance,” an acknowledgement that these violations are not always indicative of overall safety performance. The agency also agreed to hold back the hazmat data from public view, conceding that a poor hazmat compliance score does not always indicate safety issues.
However, ATA urged the agency to continue to address serious shortcomings in the program and make badly needed improvements. “These changes, while appreciated, point to the issue ATA has been urging FMCSA to address for some time: CSA scores are not necessarily indicative of elevated crash risk,” Graves says. “Several studies have told us this, and FMCSA’s changes indicate they believe it as well.
“ATA supports CSA’s original goal of reducing crashes by targeting unsafe carriers, but too often, the system highlights violations that bear little direct--or even indirect--relationship to crash risk. FMCSA must continue to hold true to CSA’s original goal and make changes to the program as necessary to do so.”