Industry, safety advocates split on CSA ‘work in progress’

Published February, 07 2013

A CSA Subcommittee this week concluded three prioritized issues to take to a full committee later this year — crash accountability, data quality issues, public display of carriers’ Safety Measurement System scores.

The CSA Subcommittee to the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee ended its Feb. 5-6 meeting with the recommendations that will be put to the full committee for consideration in April when it convenes again. Issues taken up were determined by each member ranking his or her top three CSA problems. Various data quality problems ranked No. 3, the problematic nature of the public display of carrier Safety Measurement System scores No. 2, and how to address crash fault and/or preventability in the Crash Indicator Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) took the top spot.

“Using all information that the Agency has before it,” draft recommendations read, “FMCSA should exclude crash data for which there is a clear determination of not-at-fault” or non-preventability on the accident report or elsewhere “for purposes of computing a carrier’s Crash Indicator BASIC score.”

“I’ve referred to [CSA] as a ‘work in progress’ before, and have somewhat been chastised because of that,” said Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. But, he added, “these are things that diminish the value of the product.”

Practical considerations notwithstanding, most committee members felt that in instances where fault was noted on crash reports it should be considered in the scoring, while a minority suggested that FMCSA’s own higher standard of “preventable” or “nonpreventable,” determined during compliance reviews where crash issues are found that could impact a company’s safety rating, was a better mark.

Data-quality recommendations
The CSA Subcommittee was more united behind a series of recommendations on how to improve the quality of the data on which CSA is based:

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