CSA scores not ready to be made public, FMCSA administrator says

June 20, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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The Compliance, Safety and Accountability scores shouldn’t be made public until several areas of concern with the program are addressed, FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez told the Senate committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Wednesday, June 19.

In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences completed a congressionally mandated study of the safety measurement system and included several recommendations to improve the analysis and data.

“We have been actively engaged with the National Academy of Sciences,” Martinez said. “We have accepted their recommendations, and we have put forward our corrective action plan. One of the areas we’ve looked at is using an item-response theory and seeing whether that could apply to the trucking industry. That is still a work in progress, but it shows signs of better informing the agency. Until that time, the scores shouldn’t be made public.”

The FMCSA leader’s comments were in response to a recent by lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives to make CSA scores public.

As part of 2015’s FAST Act, FMCSA is required to address the deficiencies within the program before publishing the scores aimed at predicting which motor carriers are more likely to be involved in crashes.

Earlier this month, OOIDA President Todd Spencer told a House subcommittee that the scores should not be published.

“Looking at what the data shows, there is a disconnect between compliance with the regulations and improved safety outcomes,” Spencer said. “Most of the regulations that make up CSA have nothing to do with safety, but that has been the focus.”

Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs, told Land Line Now’s Terry Scruton that he does not expect the push to publish the scores to gain any ground in the Senate.

“We’re pretty confident we’re not going to see the Senate move to include that House provision that was in the appropriations bill,” Grimes said. “We want to make sure these changes are made by FMCSA before any of these scores go back into effect. The scores that would go up now are the same old methods and the same flawed scoring system, so it does not make any sense for those to go back up.”

To look at the issues, FMCSA launched a Crash Preventability Demonstration Program in July 2017. Martinez told lawmakers that the program has looked at more than 5,300 crashes, and 93% of them were determined to be “not preventable.”

“They were crashes that the driver and carrier had no ability to prevent, and now we’re able to eliminate those if they are brought to our attention,” Martinez said.

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.