Last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Anne Ferro and members of her staff participated in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Transportation Safety Roundtable to highlight Compliance, Safety, Accountability’s (CSA) positive impact on safety. The session provided FMCSA with an interactive opportunity to present current, accurate information on CSA and correct rumors and myths. The key points are as follows:
- The Safety Measurement System (SMS) assesses the relative safety of motor carriers, which allows FMCSA to efficiently and effectively prioritize enforcement resources on motor carrier safety issues.
- SMS is one of three web-based systems where the public can find information about motor carriers. The other two are the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System (http://www.safersys.org/), which provides registration data and safety ratings, and the Licensing and Insurance Online Website (http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/), which allows users to confirm that a motor carrier has active operating authority and adequate insurance.
- CSA’s SMS has enough data to assess about 200,000 of the 525,000 active interstate motor carriers in at least one Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC); these 200,000 carriers are involved in over 90% of all interstate commercial motor vehicle crashes.
- The Unsafe Driving and Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service) BASICs have strong relationships to future crash risk. In fact, an independent evaluation by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that carriers with either one of these two BASICs above FMCSA’s intervention thresholds had crash rates three times greater than those without BASICs exceeding FMCSA’s intervention thresholds.
- CSA is improving safety performance. We see that roadside inspection violations declined by 9 percent in the 12 months after the SMS launch.
- Roadside inspections documenting violations of regulations related to the Unsafe Driving BASIC are triggered by observed driving behaviors and not by a carrier’s percentile rank in the Unsafe Driving BASIC.
- CSA provides motor carriers with opportunities to improve their BASIC percentile ranks by demonstrating that they have improved their roadside performance either through reduced crashes or clean roadside inspections; in fact, over 1 million of 3.5 million roadside inspections conducted annually are inspections with no violations.
- CSA’s SMS identifies about the same number of small carriers that SafeStat did; and, of the carrier population with sufficient data to be assessed, SMS identifies a proportionate number of small, medium, and large carriers for CSA interventions.
- FMCSA does not formally “rate” drivers.
- The Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), which is mandated by Congress, provides prospective motor carriers with driver inspection, crash, and violation history upon driver release.
- SMS has tools that enable enforcement personnel to identify and address driver safety performance problems during a carrier investigation.
- FMCSA and its State Partners have made great strides in improving roadside uniformity and data quality over the past several years.
- Since 2004, FMCSA and State Partners have logged more than 27 million crash and inspection reports.
- Less than 0.5% of these have received a Request for Data Review (RDR).
- FMCSA recently revised its DataQs user guide in conjunction with the States and that guidance is helping to improve DataQs further.
- FMCSA publishes a monthly evaluation of the completeness, timeliness, accuracy, and consistency of State-reported data.
- FMCSA works closely with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) to establish and implement policies for consistent and uniform data collection at the roadside.
- FMCSA is modifying roadside inspection software to align with CVSA’s recommendations, again, in an effort to make data collection more consistent and uniform.
A copy of the presentation that FMCSA gave at the SBA’s Transportation Safety Roundtable on CSA is posted on the CSA Outreach Website. This website is the official resource for information about CSA. Stakeholders are encouraged to visit the website at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov and to sign up at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/stay_connected.aspx to receive regular email updates.