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US industry groups once again calling for changes to CSA program

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Industry associations in the US are once again calling for changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Industry associations in the US are once again calling for changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.

Scott Mugno, vice-president of safety for FedEx Ground Package System, offered his thoughts on behalf of the American Trucking Associations in testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

“ATA has been supportive of the objective of CSA, to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities, since the program’s inception. However, ATA has significant concerns with the program in its current form,” he said.

Mugno cited issues in data weakness that prevent FMCSA from having enough information to properly evaluate carriers, as well as methodology issues that count all crashes – regardless of preventability – against a carrier, as among the most significant issues with CSA.

While ATA officials note that the group continues to support CSA’s stated goal, Mugno said FMCSA needed to take several steps to fix the program.

“First, FMCSA must acknowledge that CSA scores are often not a reliable predictor of future crash risk. Second, the agency must confirm that CSA’s highest priority should be to focus on the least safe carriers. And finally,” he said, “FMCSA must establish a specific plan to develop and implement the changes necessary to ensure that the system functions as intended.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) also provided comments to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, saying CSA’s rating system opens doors for unwanted competition and safety issues.
“Instead of having all motor carriers strive for a perfect safety rating, this system has them all competing with each other for the highest ranking within peer groups. This belies the idea that the system’s objective is really about safety,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice-president of OOIDA.
In the past, OOIDA has contended that the CSA scoring system is “prejudicial, arbitrary and disproportionately punishes small businesses,” noting “the system does not have a way for a carrier to have any ranking at all until a violation is cited by way of an inspection.

“This lack of a ranking for smaller carriers due to lack of exposure, or inspections, or simply by having only perfect clean inspections means they are overlooked by brokers or shippers, even if a particular carrier is actually a safe operator with a perfect safety record,” officials said in a release.
“A carrier is only as good as the next guy and in order to succeed, you must first fail – only fail less than everyone else in the same safety grouping,” said Spencer. “Because 90% of trucking is made up of small businesses, then this has serious implications on truly knowing who is a safe carrier.”
OOIDA also said the public availability of scores “contradicts the self-help objective of the program, again begging the question whether safety is the priority,” with carriers meant to make improvements to their operations based on scores.
“FMCSA needs to show their program actually can identify carriers that are really unsafe as opposed to just running up numbers on the ‘alphabet soup’ of regulations they have on their books. The system operates from the premise that every trucker is the bad guy and this is a flawed approach for creating legitimate safety statistics or improving safety,” Spencer said.

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7 Comments » for US industry groups once again calling for changes to CSA program
  1. Monte Wiederhold says:

    The CSA system is biased against small carriers no doubt in favor of larger fleets. The system is flawed several ways:crash accountability, fatigued driving for starters.
    The large fleets cried until they got this now they don’t like it either. Yet they still lobby against establishing standards for entry level drivers.

  2. Joe Ammons says:

    The system needs a a better method of appeal for drivers. And why are non- conviction charges that either were never really a citation or else were dismissed by courts, allowed to add to CSA score. Particularly since the score is now a base for employment application and should fall under credit reporting act?.

  3. Tony Godsoe says:

    The system is definitely flawed. Drivers that are given warnings should never have points against them on the CSA. I have heard stories where drivers have been given warnings for a 3 month old log book violation of just 15 minutes. This type of scrutiny is unwarranted, and certainly not necessary. Maybe it is time for a nation wide truckers strike stop all movement and not a piece of freight moves or a truck moves anywhere in the U.S or Canada. How long would any Government or shipper put up with this.

  4. Brian Kassa says:

    What I dont understand is why you get points when someone else hits your truck. I drive around NYC just about every day and accidents are bound to happen. Why do I get punished for someone hitting me?? Then there are the bogus safety violations such as a load being “unsecure” because a flatbed strap has a twist in it and it is the officer’s opinion, not fact the strap is weakend. Then there are points issued for brakes out of adjustment…Id like to know how many company drivers know how to check and adjust brakes. Then there are the points issued for violations that have nothing to do with safety. For example, having one clearance light out will not make a vehicle unsafe or forgetting to sign your logbook will not make a vehicle unsafe. I think Tony has it right, on the truckers need to strike. I heard they did that in the 70s and flooded Washington DC with trucks in protest of laws they were trying to pass.

  5. Ross Thompson says:

    Intresting….Im seeing the work STRIKE show up more and more often. It’s long overdue, and maybe just in time.

  6. RichieC says:

    Fair credit reporting act requires that proof be shown as to the legitimacey of an entrie. Cops become accuser, judge, jury, and executioner with current lack of usefull challenge to bogus entries.

    Stacking….the listing multiple times ….of the same violation adds points as if the entries are different violations. Thats called double jepordy.

    With the current system the legal rights of drivers and co’s are violated in every way passible…from discovery to due process to “colateral estoppel” being ignored.

    The above mentioned are things that a court would tolorate but when it comes to truckers …there is no law.

    It’s time for truckers to turn the spicket off, demand responsible and law abiding officers on highways, via punishment and mitigation of those rouge officers…a data base of bad entries by officers should be included for public view in the fmsca site…and yes, firings and prosicutions of officers who feel that truckers are theirs for the abusing. No industry in America tolorates being treated the way that the truckers on highways are treated…if that treatment was in their store, factory or warehouse all hell would break loose.

  7. matt says:

    the csa will always be flawed. it’s designed to put trucks and truckers off the road. it will be miss used just like the dac record. there pissed because they want the mexican truckers running free in our country. and we won’t let them do that. so they are just going to keep making it harder until no americans want to be truckers. so it will make it easy to kick the doors wide open on the cross border program.

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