The American Trucking Associations is stepping up its campaign to force changes in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability or CSA program, asking Congress to require the Department of Transportation to make key changes to its safety initiative.
The ATA wants Congress to direct the DOT to ensure carrier CSA scores reflect actual crash risk and prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from creating a new carrier safety rating system until they do.
The association called on members of a House-Senate conference committee hammering out a compromise transportation bill to include language on CSA in their final legislation, along will other provisions related to truck safety and productivity.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that parts of the program are in need of serious revision, particularly before FMCSA begins using them to generate publicly available fitness scores,” said Dan England, ATA Chairman and Chairman of C.R. England.
In statements released Tuesday, ATA executives said the FMCSA had become “increasingly unresponsive, even in the face of data and logic,” to industry requests, and had demonstrated “unwillingness to frankly discuss the program’s weaknesses.”
The safety measurement system the FMCSA uses to create CSA scores is at the core of the complaints. Motor carriers claim recent studies show at least some CSA scores are not linked to a carrier’s actual crash risk and are therefore misleading.
The DOT “should remove from public view those scores that do not have a very strong relationship to future crash risk,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in a May 11 letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.
A study released by Wells Fargo Equity Research last November found no meaningful statistical relationship between CSA scores in the Fatigued Driving and Unsafe Driving categories and crash frequency. The FMCSA “strongly disagrees.”
The agency in March claimed a University of Michigan Transportation Institute study of a larger number of fleets than the Wells Fargo report proved a relationship between those CSA scores and crash risk for both large and smaller carriers.
The ATA wants more proof. The trucking group also wants the FMCSA to adjust its SMS so carriers aren’t held responsible for crashes when they’re not at fault. “Today, carriers are held accountable under CSA for all crashes,” Graves said in his letter.