A recent Government Accountability Office review of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA safety monitoring program reinforces industry concerns with the program and calls for reform, according to the American Trucking Associations.
The report found that FMCSA lacks sufficient safety performance data on most carriers to reliably compare them with other carriers. This is a particularly acute problem for small carriers who comprise more than 95% of the industry.
Further, according to an ATA press release on GAO’s report, for CSA to be effective in identifying carriers more likely to have a crash, the violation data used by the system should have a relationship to crash risk. However, for the vast majority of violations, FMCSA has not demonstrated the relationship between violation groups and motor carrier crash risk due, in part, to the lack of data.
According to GAO’s analysis, of those with sufficient data, only 13 violations consistently had some association with crash risk and only two “had sufficient data to consistently establish a substantial and statistically reliable relationship with crash risk across all (of their) tests.”
“Given GAO’s findings, FMCSA should remove all carriers’ scores from public view,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA executive vice president and chief of national advocacy. “Since scores are so often unreliable, third parties are prone to making erroneous judgments based on inaccurate data, an inequity that can only be solved in the near term by removing the scores from public view.”
The report also calls into question FMCSA’s intention on using CSA data as a basis for its Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking, scheduled for later this year. “Basing a carrier’s safety fitness determination on limited performance data may misrepresent the safety status of carriers, particularly those without sufficient data from which to reliably draw such a conclusion” the report said.
Osiecki said it would “clearly be improper for FMCSA to proceed with its plan to base carrier safety fitness determinations on data from the system, until the problems identified by GAO have been rectified.”