Smaller trucking companies and expedited carriers are asking a federal court to stay a portion of the federal CSA 2010 safety initiative set to take effect next month.
The carriers, represented by three industry groups, filed suit at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to block the release of carrier safety data in several categories by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration starting Dec. 5.
The suit is an attempt to halt a federal truck safety initiative many truckers and customers believe would sharply reduce the availability of drivers, effectively reducing capacity for domestic shipping.
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Publishing carrier BASIC ratings would cause their members “irreparable competitive and economic harm,” the associations told the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The industry groups say they want CSA 2010 stayed until the FMCSA conducts a “full notice-and-comment rulemaking” under the Administrative Procedure Act. The measure is being implemented even though a formal rulemaking has not taken place, which the lawsuit contends violates federal law.
CSA 2010, or the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, is designed to enhance the enforcement of current truck safety regulations by making it easier for the Department of Transportation and state authorities to identify unsafe carriers.
It eventually will replace the current SafeStat motor carrier safety rating system, using carrier scores in seven categories of behavior — or BASIC ratings.
The FMCSA’s plans to roll out CSA 2010 starting Dec. 5 were challenged in court by the National Association of Small Trucking Companies in Gallatin, Tenn.
The NASTC filed a lawsuit demanding the stay Nov. 29, along with the Expedited Alliance of North America and the Air & Expedited Motor Carriers Association.
“The FMCSA should provide the industry and public with full disclosure of all aspects of the proposed rule, including the algorithms and other formulas the agency intends to utilize in developing carriers’ BASIC grades and classifications, the sample populations used in developing the percentiles and other criteria the agency will utilize in grading carriers as to safety,” the petitioners said in their lawsuit.
“The agency must provide the public an opportunity to comment on the FMCSA’s proposal and must issue a decision explaining its final rule,” they said.
Currently, the agency plans to make its CSA 2010 BASIC ratings — currently viewable only by individual carriers — available to the public before a final rule on a new safety fitness determination process is in place.
Many carriers worry customers will use data meant only to guide FMCSA enforcement decisions to grade or select carriers before a new safety rating system is in place.
-- Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.