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Major Report Finds That CSA Scoring System “Needs Improvement”


Today a highly anticipated report was released suggesting that the FMCSA has some serious work to do in retooling its Compliance, Safety, Accountability safety measurement system.

The congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that the FMCSA’s current CSA system is “conceptually sound”, but that the agency’s methods for implementing the system are flawed. The report recommends that the FMCSA spend the next two years “develop[ing] a more statistically principled approach for the task.”

Report Recommends Major Overhaul To CSA System Over Two Years

The major recommendation from the report is that the FMCSA needs to work on improving the quality of its data in the following ways:

  • Coordinate with “states and other agencies to improve the collection of data on vehicle miles traveled and on crashes, data which are often missing and of unsatisfactory quality. Including vehicle miles traveled data by state and month will enable SMS to account for varied environments where carriers travel — for example, in icy winter weather in the North.
  • Include relevant information from police reports to paint a more complete picture of the factors that led to a crash.
  • Research new ways of collecting data about carriers “including driver turnover rates, type of cargo, and method and level of compensation. For example, compensation levels are relevant because it is known that drivers who are better-compensated, and those not compensated based on miles traveled, have fewer crashes.  This additional data collection would require greater collaboration between FMCSA and the states to standardize the effort and to protect carrier-specific information.”

The report writers said that they could not make a recommendation on whether SMS rankings should remain hidden from public view.

It isn’t clear how the FMCSA will respond to these findings.


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