FMCSA schedules public meeting to discuss CSA changes

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line Digital Content Editor | 8/14/2018

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is scheduling a public hearing as part of its response to a National Academy of Sciences report aimed at improving the agency’s Safety Measurement System and the Compliance, Safety and Accountability program.

FMCSA has scheduled a public meeting from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Aug. 29, in Arlington, Va. Participants may attend in person or virtually via webinar. Spaces for either method are limited, and preregistration is encouraged via the links below:

The meeting is part of the agency’s response to a congressionally mandated study of CSA’s Safety Management System. The SMS serves as the backbone of CSA’s safety measurement program. The FMCSA uses the CSA program in an attempt to predict which motor carriers are more likely to be involved in crashes. As part of the program, motor carriers are ranked in six Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories, which are categories of similar regulations. Motor carriers with high rankings are considered at risk and are subject to enforcement interventions by the agency.

NAS suggests that a more statistically rigorous method of data collection is needed.

“(The Safety Measurement System) is structured in a reasonable way, and its method of identifying motor carriers for alert status is defendable,” the panel states in the report’s summary, which was issued in 2017. “However, much of what is now done is ad hoc and based on subject-matter expertise that has not been sufficiently empirically validated. This argues for FMCSA adopting a more statistically principled approach that can include the expert opinion that is implicit in SMS in a natural way.”

Following the NAS report, FMCSA issued a request for public comment from industry stakeholders on the correlation study and the ongoing test of proposed changes to CSA.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed comments agreeing with the study’s assessment but arguing that it didn’t go far enough in identifying underlying problems with the program.

“Most of the discussion concerning CSA has centered primarily on the accuracy of the data and the methodology behind the safety ratings. While these factors are important, OOIDA fears that they have distracted the agency and others from properly evaluating the actual performance and effectiveness of CSA,” OOIDA said in its comments.

Managing Editor Jami Jones contributed to this report.


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