November 2016

Plenty of Time to Comment on proposed changes to Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program

Rolled out in December 2010, the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program established a new nationwide system which its creators and interest group stakeholders declared would make the roads safer for motor carriers and the public alike. Six years later, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a new set of proposed changes to the CSA program and beginning October 5, has been seeking comment on the proposals. Intent on motivating and capturing public commentary the FMCSA set up a special website to demonstrate how changes would affect a given motor carrier’s safety ratings.

Published in the Federal Register for Oct. 5, the federal notice broadcasts the changes the agency is proposing on its public Safety Measurement System (SMS) website. The FMCSA is also responding to comments it’s received in response to the agency’s earlier notice published June 2015 on proposed future SMS enhancements. While the Federal Register announcement responds to comments received following the June 2015 notice, the agency says no changes will be displayed on the SMS website until the National Academies of Sciences completes its Correlation Study, as required by the FAST Act highway bill.

In his October 4th report, Commercial Carrier Journal’s James Jaillet explained “The key changes proposed to CSA and its Safety Measurement System percentile rankings include lowering intervention thresholds in some SMS categories/BASICs, raising the threshold in one BASIC, and making the Hazmat BASIC public and splitting it into two segments.” Once intervention thresholds are crossed in an SMS BASIC, said Jaillet, the agency then targets the carrier for an on-site compliance review. Currently, motor carriers and others can preview altered scores at csa.fmcsa.gov/smspreview.

The agency announced it will be accepting public comment for 60 days based on the agency’s new preview tool. There’s still plenty of time -- public comment period closes Monday, December 5. The methodology changes to CSA’s SMS will better tie carriers’ safety to their rankings within the system says the agency, and will allow it to better target at-risk carriers. It’s good to remember that due to stipulations published in 2015’s FAST Act highway bill, percentile rankings within the SMS BASICs are no longer available for public view. Only carriers and enforcers can see the ratings, even though the data used to formulate the BASIC is still publicly available via the SMS portal.

Regardless, the proposed changes to the BASIC intervention thresholds are now available for preview and include:

  • Lowering the intervention threshold of the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC to 75% -- down from the current 80% for general property carriers--in an effort to target more carriers for intervention.
  • Raising the intervention threshold for the Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC from 80% to 90% -- intending to target fewer carriers for intervention.
  • Raising the intervention threshold for the Driver Fitness BASIC from 80% to 90% -- reform intending to target fewer carriers.

According to FMCSA, it plans to maintain the 65% intervention threshold for the BASICs with the highest correlation to crash risk: Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator and Hours-of-Service Compliance. Do try out the demonstration website and be sure to make your voice count by providing your commentary before the public commentary period ends.

https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FMCSA-2015-0149-0053

https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/

http://www.overdriveonline.com/comment-period-opens-for-proposed-csa-changes-fmcsa-hosting-qa-sessions/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=10-07-2016&utm_campaign=Overdrive&ust_id=6b86016fce5327e771faf625589253d8

http://www.overdriveonline.com/owner-ops-can-preview-altered-csa-scores-based-on-fmcsas-proposed-changes/

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