Study: Two BASICs Do Not Corrolate to Crashes

ARLINGTON, VA — A report released yesterday from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) examining the relationship between CSA scores and actual crash involvement is showing a problematic correlation in two of the five public BASICs.

While ATRI found a strong safety relationship for the Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving and Vehicle Maintenance, there was only partial support for the Controlled Substances and Alcohol BASIC, and, most notably, no statistical support for the Driver Fitness BASIC.

Data from the study shows that as a driver’s fitness record improves, a carrier’s crash rate goes up.

“The conclusions in ATRI’s study support what many motor carriers have found to be true in their operations – namely, that scores in the CSA Driver Fitness BASIC do not bear a statistical correlation to crash risk,” said Scott Mugno, vice president of Safety, FedEx Ground who testified on behalf of the ATA at a Congressional Subcommittee on CSA last month. “However, the industry has always supported CSA where it does reduce crash risk and ATRI’s study validates that there are portions of CSA that are working as intended.”

“It is likely that FMCSA’s severity weighting methodology places too much weight on safety-irrelevant violations and too little weight on safety-critical violations in these two BASICs,” wrote the study’s authors.

There are a number of defects that need to be addressed, the authors conclude. “Since many stakeholders (e.g. shippers, insurers, litigants) assume CSA profiles reflect safety status, steps should be taken to provide to the public only information that can reliably be tied to safety.”

The researchers suggest a new approach to categorizing carrier safety, one that places emphasis on how many “Alerts” a carrier has, which, they say, is the best indicator of crashes. Carriers with an “Alert” in all five public BASICs have a crash rate roughly 5.1 times higher than a carrier with “Sufficient Data But No Score,” the study notes.

You can download the full report here.

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