It’s back to the drawing board for the Compliance, Safety, Accountability system after academic research showed truckers’ complaints about the program were valid.
Last March, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration withdrew a proposed rule that would have imposed new categories for truckers while it awaited the results of a study mandated by Congress of the CSA program and conducted by the National Academies of Science (AA, 3-31-17, P. 1).
If allowed to go forward, that proposal would have done away with the “Conditional,” “Satisfactory” and “Unsatisfactory” rating system, in favor of a simple “Fit” or “Unfit” designation.
FMCSA now says it accepts all of the NAS recommendations as it moves forward, and will completely redesign its data gathering system.
The NAS report validated trucking industry assertions that the data gathered by FMCSA was neither consistent nor reliable. “There is a particular concern about false negatives and false positives among smaller carriers, which results from not having much data with which to judge them,” the report says.
American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear said, “This report has confirmed much of what we have said about the program for some time: the program, while a valuable enforcement tool, has significant shortcomings that must be addressed, and we look forward to working with FMCSA to strengthen the program.”
ATA Director of Safety Policy Sean Garney commented, “We also see great potential in the Academies’ recommendation that FMCSA overhaul the current CSA methodology in favor of a new, more adaptive, data-centric model with the potential to address serious flaws in the system.”