Lawsuit over FMCSA guidance on CSA scores dismissed

| June 17, 2014

In a brief to media and members, the board of the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation reported that the suit it brought against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2012 had been decided in favor of FMCSA.

The suit alleged FMCSA had overstepped its bounds with publication of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Safety Measurement System, which ranks carriers on a numerical curve in five public BASIC categories of measurement. The SMS and associated guidance, ASECTT originally argued, constituted a de facto safety rating in the eyes of the agency, and needed to go through a formal rulemaking and public-comment process.


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The D.C. Court of Appeals, the ASECTT board’s statement noted, “took FMCSA at its word — that the guidance was not intended to transform SMS scores into a new safety rating system, nor to promote SMS as a better carrier-selection tool than safety ratings.”

ASECTT believes the court made no judgment relative to the merit of the CSA SMS, ultimately, and that the “practical result” of the decision would be the status quo: uncertainty on appropriate practices among brokers and shippers relative to the CSA SMS scores in carrier selection. 


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FMCSA did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but in the intital installment of Overdrive‘s CSA’s Fallout series in the June issue of the magazine and available online via this link, FMCSA Associate Administrator for Enforcement Bill Quade, speaking as if a broker or shipper selecting a carrier, noted a greater confidence in SMS than in the current safety rating system. “I would use a Conditional [rated] carrier with good performance data [in the CSA SMS],” he noted, “before I would use a Satisfactory carrier with bad performance data.”

ASECTT argues that, “given the Agency’s continued touting of its seriously flawed SMS methodology and its misuse by Plaintiff’s bar to extend liability up the supply chain, the time has come for Congress to address the preemption issue and protect the shipping public against frivolous lawsuits aimed at making the shipping public responsible for the acts or omissions of their regulated motor carrier vendors.”

Legislation that would require a motor carrier “hiring standard” to be established to address such issues was introduced in May. 

  • roge160

    It just shows that DC is going to do what they want . They think they don’t have to listen to anyone right or wrong they know all .

  • martymarsh

    The corrupt backing up the corrupt.


    The good ole FMCSA keeps fixing what ain’t broke. Like the old saying goes” IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT!!!!!”. We never really had any problems when it was run by the ICC. They should bring back some of the stuff we had 15-20 years ago, back when trucking was hard work but fun

  • MercenaryMan

    Big olé Lobby Bills will pass, Working man Kiss our A $$

  • USMC 69-75

    The only problem maatrucker, most of the DOT and non of the law enforcement could figure out what we were doing with our logs. Now they have it so that the E-log will do the work for them, they’ll just stand their with their readers and watch you drive by. It’s all simplified for them, and dangerous for us and the motoring public. Can you see an e-log reader figuring out split logging when you drove by!!!!!!

  • jan johnson

    Your right

  • jan johnson


  • jan johnson

    While if you have had log book 101 ain’t no reader nor elog going to. They still don’t know point a n b. And they are a few that are still looking for nippiloplous in.

  • james

    As long as I’ve been driving I’ve never had a problem driving. I’ve experienced the e log system…. FORCED DRIVING! !!!!!!
    FORCED. DRIVING. !!!!!!!!.
    Any driver that’s involved in an accident while under e log should get a good attorney And start suing from A TO Z !!!

  • idontknowyou

    You are always such a whiner – you sure you’re a Marine and not an Air Force puke? How do you figure it’s more dangerous for you to drive now that you’re going to be held to the same standard that everyone else is? That’s an asinine statement.

  • USMC 69-75

    Apparently you don’t know anything about everything. Not whining just making a point to maatrucker statement…..just because your dumb as a bucket of rocks, I can’t help ya!

    If I have to explain e-logs and the HOS ruling to you, you need to go back to school JB! By the way, just to clarify for you JR….slit logging is when we could legally drive 5 hour then sleep 4 hours, then back to driving 5 hours. You could do that after an 8 hour break and you had to take an 8 hour break after you finished….. whenever that was. You could run like that as long as you wanted. But you gestapo lovers like UNIFORMITY, which screws everybody and makes it that much more UNSAFE on the highways, because you need somebody to tell you how to log! Not whining, stating fact, and your proof, don’t like it, to bad, pick up your cell and call your dispatcher, maybe they’ll care!

  • USMC 69-75

    or Intercourse, PA!

  • Del Ray Johnson

    @I dont know you what are you talking about this Marine is one of the smartest guys and there are many idiots on this blog. I just glanced at this topic what are you talking about like he said there is NO DISPUTE with E-logs. And I only use E-log I actual do get pulled into the scales almost every time I step foot into CO, and during my level one the ONLY thing they asked is how much time I got today least 2 hours to listen to air brakes they do not want stranded there when I was on paper pissed off have to buy candy bars, cookies, for @#$% paper receipts to know where @##$% I am too busy and tired for that nonsense. And I do talk to drivers on paper No Comments. Be safe . . . .

  • idontknowyou

    How much of what you just wrote was English?

  • idontknowyou

    Sorry – I’ve seen you rant about CSA and elogs before and I took your comments to be more complaints about a system that I believe ultimately will weed out the folks that don’t need to be here, constrain capacity, and as a result drive rates up to acceptable levels for those of us that stay. On reading it again I think you were only mildly complaining ;-).

  • guest

    All part of the Agenda…..the overall
    Plan is in action and it dont include what some trucker wants
    or thinks….this is Martial Law For Trucking…..

  • Del Ray Johnson

    I would say that this guy is too stupid to be a Marine but that would be a dis-service to the Marines. He is the person a “trucker” because no other job skills or common sense. The Mariners have professional drivers they drive 2500 miles during 70 hours a week on E-log get paid $400 bucks; the Air Force driver does 5000 miles during a “seventy” hours a week on paper log get paid $500; a high school works at McDonald new minimum wage get paid $750 a 40 week home every night and this guy believes the PRIMARY problem is weeding out guys trying to make a living by running excess miles hauling cheap freight. . . . . .

  • USMC 69-75

    The only thing it’s going to weed out idontknowyou, are the guys that refuse to haul cheap freight, by over regulating US and forcing US to run like the robots and lose to much money by expecting us to conform to all this B/S that is only a big money maker for the gestapo, and taking food of the real driver’s table. I refuse to put an e-log system on my truck, and the EPA can kiss my backside if they think I’m putting all that emission control carp on my truck. It has gotten to far when they start taxing farmers for the number of cows they have calling it a flatulence tax???? Last I knew, this was still a free country. Guess that will make me an outlaw, and lastly, I refuse to haul cheap freight!
    Not complaining, ranting or whining, just stating facts! ;-}

  • Del Ray Johnson

    Really? Now I do not “understand” are you are real driver or just talking, blogging in your free time about things INDUSTRIES you actually know nothing about. . . . .

  • idontknowyou

    The economic rules of Supply & Demand would argue against your position. If people drop out of the industry and capacity is constrained the rates will rise for everyone. If everyone is playing by the same rules then the “cheap freight” guys won’t likely stay in business. Their costs rise and opportunity to earn goes down when they A) keep their equipment in better condition, and B) have to run legally – to stay in business under these new rules they won’t be able to haul freight at the cut rates they do now. They’ll either raise their rates or go out of business. Those are facts – to suggest that when you increase regulatory requirements and decrease capacity you will drive down rates simply flies in the face of proven economic realities. Have you watched the national trends for freight prices over the last 12 months? They’ve done nothing but increase – that’s good for all of us.

  • idontknowyou

    You’re ridiculous.

  • USMC 69-75

    If you like being a “robot”? That is the whole concept of “Supply and Demand”, drivers sticking together and refusing all this B/S, “Supply and Demand” worked back in the day, but the spineless drivers today want “big government to regulate them out of business and dictate what they make! Sorry, in a FREE enterprise “Capitalist” country, everybody sets their own rate. If my equipment is paid for and you have $3,000.00 trk and trailer payments, I could afford to haul a load a little cheaper than you, but I still wouldn’t haul it if I didn’t make a reasonable profit, for repairs, equipment replacement etc.. But when we have to deal with big companies lobby government to dictate to us what we can and can’t do, then they get subsidized by big government , so they can afford to cut rates, and make it up on the backside…..this is what needs to stop, not more regulations to put us out of business, and have it all controlled by your company and their lobbyists!

    I know you don’t agree with me, as I don’t agree with you, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree and let it go at that! I’ll keep running my equipment under my authority, and you keep driving your company truck. AGREED! :-}

  • USMC 69-75

    How do you figure idontknowyou? E-log is forced driving…..if you get a little drowsy with the tunes on, a/c kicking and the sun in your eyes, you can’t pull over and take a nap without it going against your 11 hours? That is “forced” driving and unsafe. If I want to nap, I’ll nap, and I’ll paper log what I want, what they don’t know don’t hurt me, but at least I didn’t fall asleep and kill somebody, or myself, and my load is still delivered on time!
    No e-logs for me, but I also run mostly local anymore, only log when I exceed my 100 mile radius, other than that I use a time sheet.
    All this EPA, E-log b/s and everything else,makes me happy being off the long haul road. No more IRP, IFTA, logs unless I run over 100 miles from home, and still make more money than I did on the road.
    So have at it and have fun and be safe!

  • Sandra Grover

    people could care less about safety, traffic, inefficiency many screamer messages have you ever received..I do not care who you are…those need to be illegal! that passed the point of coercion when they allow this..the last company i worked for sent out 40 to 50 screamer msgs per day..and the jerk in safety felt totally entitled to misusing the technology..the csa scores should be uniform in all states..we know of the states like missouri who want to triple point you..or states like colorado that harass you for turn signals that dont flash fast enough…or new mexico that can see hazard flashers for 15 miles, but cancel as you make a slight right two lane exit(failure to obey a traffic control device) etc….

  • brad74

    I had one recordable inspection in 4 years of being a o/o, only the one is recorded because thats the only time they found fault…but during that one inspection they found a bad brake line which they wrote down as several bad instances (out of adjustment, loss or pressure, bad brake line, improper brake system, faulty brakes, etc) but the other 16 inspections they found nothing so it was never recorded, so i have a 100% oos rating and my CSA is 141….now i cant get a job, cant lease on with any company, and i am pretty much done from a career i have had since i was in my early 20s…im 40 now! This CSA score and other things FMCSA doesnt truely show how a driver is or acts, i have never had a ticket, accident, wreck or lost any cargo, nothing! just one bad inspection, with the same infraction wrote multiple times, i am even a ASE certified mechanic, i ask dot inspector in Arkansas if he knew any of this when he wrote this down, he said no,i said do you know that the air leak will cause loss of pressure, improper brake system, he said “no” i just know it isnt working correctly….so i put on new air line and i had air pressure, brakes, etc…i said see ” he said well i cant help it, it doesnt matter if one part causes the whole system to go down, i just write down everything”!! well thanks buddy you ruined my career!! I agree yes i changed the brake line, it was cracked, road abuse and bumps wears them lines out over time, but man they dont even use common sense to make decision, they just wanna look good! well so did i, i drove a clean truck, well maintained and i had one bad instance destroy my truck driving job! WE need a better system, you cant tell what kind of driver i am off of a points system, and if the other inspections where recorded then i wouldnt be in this mess, but as most drivers now, going over a scale or weigh station if the pull you in and cant find anything, they wave you down the road, they never write down, passed inspection! And this last years annual dot road side check, i passed it, they didnt record that either!! he did a full inpection brakes, tires, inside and out!! not fair!!

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