Concerns Remain Over Possible CSA ChangesSeptember 11, 2018
Officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) held a public meeting in August to discuss their proposed changes to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program’s Safety Measurement System (SMS), which identifies motor carriers that are at risk for truck accidents.
During the meeting, motor carriers and representatives from various trade organizations took the opportunity to express their concerns over a proposed plan called the “Item Response Theory” (IRT), which is a method used to update the CSA program data methodology.
The FMCSA commented on the status of the two-year study of the IRT method, saying that progress is being made, but it is too soon to confirm whether the methodology will improve the current CSA program.
According to the director of the agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance, the FMCSA expects the IRT modeling evaluation process to be finished by the fall of 2019. The FMCSA will then need to determine whether the method is effective at regulating the safety of heavy trucks and buses. The FMCSA Administrator commented on how important the process is, and the impact it can have on safety.
The FMCSA will test data using the IRT method, which uses a detailed, data-oriented method to measure the safety and performance of individual trucks. According to the director of the agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance, by early next year they will have a better understanding of the potential changes to the SMS, and when the changes might take place.
Stakeholders who were present at the meeting shared their concerns about specific issues, including how the quality of the data will be improved once it is collected, how to collect data about miles traveled, driver turnover, and pay; and how to ensure that the data is transparent and user-friendly. In addition, many motor carriers are not willing to hand over certain company data.
The vice president of safety policy for the American Trucking Associations does not believe that the data collected by this method accurately reflects a carrier’s safety. In addition, if the information somehow gets into a competitor’s hands, it can cause major problems for the carrier. He also mentioned the fact that there is enforcement disparity from state to state, and in different jurisdictions.
Others agree that using data like driver turnover rates is not reliable information for a safety rating. A government qualification coordinator for Panther Premium Logistics said that it is important to establish a proactive culture of safety.
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