ATA echoes problems With SafeStat

WASHINGTON, (July 20, 2004) — The American Trucking Associations this week released its position paper echoing a recent Inspector General report calling the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Status Measurement System (SafeStat) program “significantly problematic.”

SafeStat is an automated, data driven analysis system designed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It collects data from interstate carriers, as well as cross-border carriers with an active U.S. DOT number, and combines current and historical carrier-based safety performance information to measure the relative (peer-to-peer) safety fitness of interstate commercial motor carriers and intrastate commercial motor carriers that transport hazardous materials.

While the SafeStat system is an improvement over past enforcement resource allocation systems at the federal level, the ATA highlighted findings by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General that said the program still contains “significant problems and material weaknesses which underscore the unreliability of carriers’ scores and data.”

Other findings in the OIG report, highlighted by the ATA include:

Out-of-date and unreliable carrier information, incomplete data on crashes and serious moving traffic violations, untimely reporting of crashes and inspection data, and errors in the crash and inspection reporting process. Also, motor carriers do not routinely update their identification report filed with FMCSA, as required by the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act.

“We estimated that errors occurred in approximately 13 per cent of the crash transactions and 7 per cent of the inspection transactions reported,” stated the report. “Missing, incomplete, or untimely safety event data may cause public Internet users, who rely on specific rankings, to make incorrect decisions.”

ATA said it “strongly recommends that motor carrier to motor carrier comparisons should not be made by members of the public or third parties using SafeStat scores, nor should business decisions be based upon or made using SafeStat scores, or on the underlying data.”

The FMCSA is currently taking steps to improve the system since issuance of the OIG report, including implementation of a new data correction system called DataQs. The FMCSA also recently announced its intent to temporarily remove the accident scores and the overall SafeStat scores from its web site until the agency is assured that the supporting data is more timely, complete and accurate.

— with files from

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