Remove Not At-Fault Crashes: ATA says to FMCSA

ARLINGTON, VA — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that while it supports the agency’s new process for improving Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA), the system still has serious deficiencies that must be corrected.

“ATA supports this new approach to making adjustments to the Safety Measurement System methodology,” ATA’s Vice President of Safety Policy Rob Abbott wrote.
“Previously, FMCSA occasionally made changes to the methodology with no prior explanation or announcement.”

The more open process aside, ATA said there are a couple of concerns about FMCSA’s methodology.

First, the association is concerned with FMCSA’s treatment of non-preventable crashes.

“There can be no better predictor of future crash risk than past at-fault crash involvement,” Abbott said. The FMCSA recently announced that it will spend a year conducting research before developing a process for determining crash accoundability, but the ATA is urging FMCSA to create an interim process to remove those crashes in which it is “plainly evident” that the truck driver was not responsible for the crash.

ATA said that while they support the FMCSA’s plan to establish a category to measure hazardous materials carriers, it should only be implemented after modifying and testing the methodology to ensure that carriers’ scores relate to future crash risk. Currently, ATA said in a statement, the BASIC assigns high scores to many reputable, safe motor carriers with laudable crash rates and low scores in all other categories.

“While compelling fleets to improve compliance with HM regulations is important, the more pressing need — and the goal of CSA — is to identify fleets with a greater risk of crash involvement and to change their behavior,” said Abbott. “Doing so would undoubtedly be a more appropriate and efficient use of the system.”

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