FMCSA acts fast, pulls CSA scores

By Jami Jones, managing editor

Contained in the new highway law signed by President Obama late on the afternoon of Dec. 4, is a provision removing Compliance, Safety, Accountability safety program rankings from public review while the program is studied.

Just minutes after the announcement that the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act had been signed into law, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that in order to comply with the congressional directive, the CSA site will not display a vast majority of previously viewable information, in order to retool the site.

"As of Dec. 4, 2015, pursuant to the FAST Act of 2015, much of the information previously available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) website related to property carrier's compliance and safety performance will no longer be displayed publicly," the agency announced in a press release. "While the agency is not prohibited from displaying all of the data, no information will be available for property carriers while appropriate changes are made.

"FMCSA is working to return the website and app to operation as quickly as possible."

The website returned to its previous public view functionality, minus CSA BASIC safety rankings.

That leaves the agency with meeting the remaining requirements of the FAST Act, pertaining to the safety performance measurement system.

The highway bill mandates the agency conduct a correlation study of the full CSA program and the Safety Measurement System utilized by CSA and report back to Congress within 18 months of the enactment of the highway bill.

The study is to determine the accuracy of the BASICs to identify high-risk carriers and determine if they predict or are correlated with crash risk. The BASICs are categories of violations such as hours of service, vehicle maintenance and unsafe driving in which carriers are ranked and scored publicly based on the motor carriers' compliance.

The FAST Act-mandated study also directs FMCSA to look into the Safety Measurement System, which is basically the math and algorithms set by the agency to arrive at rankings and scores. Congress wants to look at severity and time weighting of violations, the relative value of the data input into the system from roadside inspections, the accuracy of the data, etc.

Following the extensive report, the agency is to present a corrective action plan to address any shortcomings within CSA or the Safety Measurement System. The Department of Inspector General will then be tasked with checking off on the plan to make sure it also meets previous recommendations issued by the Comptroller General or the Inspector General to correct the CSA program.

Until all those congressional directives are met, CSA scores and safety rankings will remain out of public view. LL