How long will FMCSA Keep CSA Scores from Public View?

Via marksontok/Flickr
Via marksontok/Flickr

The FMCSA recently wasted little time in getting rid of Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores from public view after President Obama signed the Highway Transportation Bill into law earlier this month.

“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,” FMCSA said in a statement.

This also applies to information provided to the public through the QCMobile app.

Why the Privacy

The new law requires the FMCSA to now keep the scores private (carriers would have access to their own data) until the agency completes the corrective action plan requirement as listed in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

“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,” read a statement on FMCSA’s website.

The FAST Act requires that the FMCSA commission a DOT Transportation Research Board to study the accuracy of CSA’s Safety Measurement System in identifying high-risk carriers and predicting future crash risk and severity.

What this Means

State and federal law enforcement personnel, as well as insurers, brokers, freight-forwarders, etc. cannot presently:

  • View safety performance information compared to other motor carriers
  • See whether past safety problems have gotten better or worse
  • Determine which motor carriers who are candidates for intervention

Why this is a Bad Thing

For years, trucking industry groups have argued that FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability scores don’t accurately reflect a carrier’s accident risk. However, we disagree.  We believe that this new piece of legislation gives trucking companies who act reckless on the highways an extended opportunity to ignore safety regulations.

Not only that, but making CSA scores private also:

  • Threatens the safety of every person in the USA of driving age
  • Hurts good trucking companies who abide by the rules
  • Makes it harder for load brokers or shippers to select safe trucking companies to haul their property loads

What Needs to Happen

Violation information should be made public again, just not the CSA scores that show a motor carrier’s relative ranking compared to other carriers of similar size and type. It is the hope of the safety advocacy community that violation information access is restored in the first quarter of 2016. This information should also remain available through FOIA requests, although it is not yet certain how FOIA requests will be impacted.

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