CSA criticized at House hearing

| September 14, 2012

For the second time in a month, House members and witnesses blasted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

At least 15 members of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit committee attended the Sept. 13 hearing on the program, intended to intervene with unsafe carriers in order to prevent future crashes. Bipartisan representatives said since CSA’s implementation nearly two years ago, some studies and stakeholders have questioned its effectiveness.

CSA rates interstate carriers on seven BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories). On Aug. 24, the agency announced changes to improve CSA’s measure of a carrier’s over-the-road safety performance. That included modifying the Fatigued Driving BASIC to the more specific Hours-of-Service Compliance BASIC to better reflect violations in this area and weighting hours of service paper and electronic logbook violations equally. Also, late last month, FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee established a subcommittee to make suggestions for improving the program.

Lawsuits against shippers have increased following a 2004 case that expanded duty of reasonable care regarding contractors, resulting in shippers weighing CSA data seriously.

Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) and other House members and witnesses expressed concern over methodology and accuracy. Democrat Reps. Nick Rahall (W.Va.) and Leonard Boswell (Iowa) expressed concerns voiced by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association that CSA lacks a way for a carrier to have any ranking at all until a violation is cited in inspection. This lack of a ranking can be because of lack of exposure or having only perfect clean inspections, but it means they are overlooked by brokers or shippers.

Rep. Don Young (R-Ala.) requested an Government Accountability Office report on CSA.

On Aug. 31, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) sent a letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro on issues raised at the House Small Business Committe’s July 11 hearing on CSA. Graves, also a member of the highway and transit subcommittee, questioned data quality and SMS methodology itself particularly in relation to smaller carriers.

Graves and other members and witnesses noted the Wells Fargo Securitas study, which did not find a correlation between certain high BASIC scores and increased crash risk and similar results from a University of Maryland study. Wells Fargo has a new study of 4,600 carriers that echoed the results of its early study, he wrote.

Ferro defended the system and said the two previous studies were on too small of a sample to draw conclusions.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWKRHMS7HCLLFVDIMKN4A2IXEA M

    ALL THOSE WHO DRIVE VEHICALS MUST BE SUBJECTED TO THE SAME SCRUTINY AS TRUCK DRIVERS INCLUDING THE POLICE. THEN WE WILL SEE HOW THE PUBLIC LIKES IT. GAME ON.

  • jescott418

    Why is it we focus so hard on professional truck drivers. Yet people can get 6 DUI’s and still drive? Sorry but yet again government is focused on the wrong group because special interests tell them we are the problem. If you are going to reduce accidents you need to address all problems with all drivers. Not just truck drivers. We are just easier because we already face a regulatory agency who can easily pass more regulations.

  • westy

    waste of tax payers money buzz off gov.

  • jim

    ho hired Anne Ferro what makes her or any of the other dum asses up their qualified to do the jobs their doing fire them all you need to have two years experiance otr should be one of the reqirements for their job

  • jim

    i wont her job where do i apply

  • dougandmurphy

    The large companies hiring so many drivers per year, are at fault. They retain such a small amount of them, they keep “buying cheaper”, in stead of grooming what they have. Trainers tend to be greedy, so they don’t say “what it really is”. “The way she goes”, they slip through, or good ones that make learning mistakes, don’t make it. Also, 2 years otr is ridiculous unless you want to otr. If local, then you need that kind of training.

  • bluzcruzer

    Once again we have policy leveraged against us that the public or our legislators could not withstand themselves. CSA itself is unconstitutional, given its conviction without due process. These reforms are destructive to our industry, in that they repel safe, seasoned drivers inexchange for uninformed nondrivers. With the creation of a hostile environment, safety is fleeting as the exchange further reduces the experience pool. High safety levels will only come with the public being educated on what not to do around trucks.

  • MarsRiver

    I agree with Bluzcruzer as well as Dougandmurphy. The previous issue of Overdrive recited the highest turnover in the last 4 years at over 100%. Anne Ferro was a questionable decision for appointment from the onset. Ray LaHood is a dictator not a leader. As the column suggests there is no correlation. Follow the money!

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.mckelvie William McKelvie

    Give a listen to the replay of Allen Smith’s truth about trucking show, this past thursdsay. You will hear an accutal account of the hearing itself after Tonko’s presentation. You can find it in the archives of blogtalkradio.com, truth about trucking radio show. It will open your eyes ……………

  • KWLTRUCK56

    YES IM A TRUCK DRIVER ONE MORE TIME IT IS THAT ALL OF US DRIVER TO SAY BACK OFF WE ALL HAVE TO GET A D.O.T CARD BUT IF WE DO NOT PASS THEY TAKE ARE CDL FROM US THAT IS NOT FAIR WHY COME DOWN ON TRUCK DRIVER THE DOOR TO DOOR SALE MAN DO NOT HAVE TO DO WHAT WE HAVE TO IT IS TIME FOR THE TRUCK DRIVER SAY STOP COMEING AT US WE ARE NOT THAT BAD WE ARE JUST TRYING TO MAKE A LIVEING BUT THE STATE’S AND THE GOVMENT COME’S DOWN ON US WILL YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS IF THERE WAS NO TRUCK AND DRIVER TO DRIVE THEM YOU WOULD NOT HAVE THING TO EAT OR LIVE IN OR THE GAS TO GO WHERE YOU LIKE TO

  • Marty Marsh

    This is nothing more than a big scam,the way these people talk you can go sit on any highway and it won’t be long before you will see a truck crash.They are all just justifying their existance and raking in the money while they are doing it.Goverment is making it cost more to transport Americas needs under the guise of safety.Every time these clowns make new laws they see nothing but Dollar signs,but they call it safety,what liars.

  • Marty Marsh

    Well put,after 39 years I just gave up my LIC but I wasn’t ready to quit.But if these clowns think I’m putting up with this bull they are wrong.But they don’t have to worry,C R England and CRST are training hundreds of new drivers as we speak.

  • Dawn Beck

    What they all fail to relize that if it wasnt for us truck drivers who are out here day in and day away from our families is that none of them would have nuthing if it wasnt for us, make up ,toliet paper, groceries , they would have nuthing I mean nuthing,a train cant deliver to the stores or the dc, just pick on the working man, but low and be hold cars can do as they dam well please dam near run us over, cut us off and talk and text as they please and no big deal,and as some one said they need to be qualified to be the office up there in dc or be man or woman enough to get out in a truck with us and really see where the problem lies with the crashes out here…

  • Sunni Sweet

    The rule is totally unconstitutional.The officer writing the citation, or the warning, or doing the inspection is elevated to judge, jury and executioner. It goes against you, whether or not the officer was correct. We had one officer in AZ who wrote citations to my fiance because she didn’t understand the paperwork she was looking at, refused to ask the right people about it, and was making her own rules as she felt like it..

    Once it is thrown out in court, then you have to fight the CSA to get them to reverse the points, something they don’t do willingly. They send it back to the issuing officer for review, and she gets to decide whether or not the points stay or go. How is that even constitutional?

    All of this wrangling with the courts takes an enormous amount of time and money, most drivers would have a severe hardship to just pay the fees of an attorney. And all because of a flawed system that encourages officers to write tickets for nothing. The states get money from the Feds for writing these tickets, so the more the merrier. Meanwhile Joe Truckdriver’s life is in shambles, and he may never drive again, if he can’t afford to pay through the nose to get this thing removed from his CSA record.

    This whole think stinks to high heaven. The sooner it is crushed, the better.