CSA works and is not biased against small carriers, FMCSA report concludes

Published February, 05 2014
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As a rebuttal to the oft-cited lack of correlation between CSA’s BASICs and future crash risk, the agency offered this chart, saying that in six out of seven of its BASICs, carriers above the intervention threshold have a higher crash rate than the national average of 3.43. (Click to enlarge).

Coming on the heels of a government-issued report saying the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability system’s scoring method is faulty and unfair for smaller carriers, the agency itself has released a study on CSA and its Safety Measurement System concluding the opposite: The system does work to identify carriers who pose the greatest crash risk, the agency says.

One of the agency’s key conclusions in its report signals SMS scores and their intervention thresholds identify carriers with crash rates 79 percent higher than those not identified for agency intervention.

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The Government Accountability Office, the non-partisan government watchdog, released Monday, Feb. 3, a report that concluded CSA and its SMS scoring were based on a bad or incomplete data set, which yielded flawed and unfair scoring, particularly for smaller carriers, for whom data is limited.

Overdrive actually beat the GAO to the punch last year in its CSA’s Data Trail series, where it pointed out that the CSA scoring method was calculated by poor or an overall lack of data and crash rates didn’t match up with CSA-related intervention. Click here to see the CSA’s Data Trail website.

Though the agency’s report isn’t a direct rebuttal to the GAO report and its findings, it does attempt to make a case that its scoring system is effective in targeting carriers at a higher risk for crash involvement — something the GAO report said CSA was not doing.

The agency says it used an Effectiveness Test to calculate that number by simulating results for carriers based on its own data and then cross-checking that with actual crash involvement.

FMCSA measured its findings based on crashes per 100 power units, and of the 43,000 carriers it identified as above an intervention threshold per SMS scores, 51,763 subsequently were involved in a crash, yielding a crash rate of 4.82 per 100 power units.

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