More Churning for CSA

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On December 3, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “activated” previously announced changes to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, including changes in two of the “BASICs” FMCSA uses to monitor carrier performance. Changes include the way cargo-securement violations are categorized, removing 1-to-5 miles-per-hour speeding violations from carrier and driver safety scores, and changing the name of the “Fatigued Driver” BASIC to the “Hours-of-Service Compliance” BASIC. The changes also entail assigning the same CSA severity weights to violations deduced from paper logs as to those associated with electronic logging devices and excluding BASIC demerits for vehicle violations derived from driver-only inspections and vice versa. (The American Trucking Associations has observed that drivers have been abandoning carriers with older equipment, since defects on older tractors were been counted against their own BASIC scores.)

At a December 5 meeting of a specially appointed CSA subcommittee of FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, concerns persisted that CSA scores were poorly coordinated with actual crash probability data and that inspection frequency varied so widely among regions that the statistical reliability of trends observed could not be usefully analyzed.