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FMCSA Continues to Evaluate and Strengthen CSA

October 09, 2012
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has openly sought feedback on its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program from safety stakeholders and partners since its development began in 2004. Eight years later, FMCSA continues to gather and analyze stakeholder input in an effort to continuously improve the program and our ability to prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

Studies by the agency and third parties continue to show that CSA is a positive change for safety. This includes recent analysis by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and their report released on October 1, titled, “Compliance, Safety, Accountability: Analyzing the Relationship of Scores to Crash Risk.” As with prior analyses, FMCSA will conduct an in-depth review of ATRI’s report and its underlying analysis, conclusions, and recommendations. The Agency will carefully consider this information as we work to make well-informed decisions about how to further strengthen the CSA program to better identify unsafe carriers and address safety problems before crashes occur.

Based on FMCSA’s preliminary review of the report, ATRI’s findings in many ways confirm the effectiveness of the CSA program and counter some previous analyses that challenged its effectiveness. For example, ATRI’s report states that their findings “showed with high levels of confidence that Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) scores are positively related to crashes in the Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving, and Vehicle Maintenance BASICs, with the strongest relationship found for Unsafe Driving.” ATRI’s study also found that the number of BASICs above an intervention threshold is the strongest indicator of crash risk; in other words, the greater the number of BASICs above the threshold, the higher the crash risk.

ATRI’s analyses also confirmed what FMCSA has long acknowledged regarding the Driver Fitness BASIC; namely, exceeding the threshold in the Driver Fitness BASIC does not in and of itself indicate a high crash risk.  However, FMCSA’s analysis shows that three out of four motor carriers above the threshold in the Driver Fitness BASIC are also above the threshold in at least one other BASIC. FMCSA will continue to address motor carriers with patterns of noncompliance in the Driver Fitness BASIC and, in doing so, will hold carriers accountable for drivers being properly licensed and meeting medical qualification standards.

FMCSA welcomes additional feedback from stakeholders as we work to make CSA even more effective in identifying unsafe and noncompliant patterns of behavior.

If you would like to download this report, please visit the ATRI site and request the report (

September 14, 2012

FMCSA Administrator Conveys CSA’s Key Components to Subcommittee on Highways and Transit

October 12, 2012

CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) website updated