CSA display-changes comment period ends Jan. 4

| December 12, 2013

snapshot from sample carrier BASICs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s data preview showcasing enhancements to the public display of its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Safety Measurement System continues to be under a comment period that ends early next month.  The agency is encouraging motor carriers, drivers and other stakeholders to download the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied three recently held webinars for carriers, drivers, and other stakeholders to review the proposed redesign. FMCSA’s goal with these changes, the agency says, is “to make this important information easier to understand for users.”

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Among the changes being proposed are de-emphasizing BASIC percentile rankings and better describing so-called "absolute" carrier BASIC measures' relationship to scoring.

The redesign does not include changes to the SMS methodology. Read more about the specific proposed changes to the display via this story. 

As of this writing, only 13 comments had been received on the redesign, one of them from the independent owner-operator of Bunton Trucking in Richmond Hill, Ga., whose thoughts struck to the core of the CSA program and where the driver feels it most — during roadside enforcement actions, which bring new import with CSA’s focus on all (including minor) violations found. The operator’s comments showed frustration with out-of-service orders he’d increasingly been subject to over only minor issues. 

Massachusetts-based Keith Menard, similarly, encouraged the agency not to jump ahead of itself with these display changes. “There is no other government oversight program that allows the police to be both the people who issue a citation as well as the people you appeal to if you feel the citation is unjustified,” he wrote. “Enforcement and appeals differ from state to state, and despite the lack of uniformity or proper appeals process, the information is being made public. This public information is then used by clients in choosing who they use.” 

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FMCSA has since proposed a system to address the problem of citations thrown in court and the associated violations in the CSA SMS. All the same, the entirety credibility of the system, Menard wrote, needs to be addressed before display refinements were made, even released to the public. “Fix the system, make sure the data is reliable, and THEN release it to the public. To do otherwise is a disservice to the industry and the clients we serve.”

Written comments regarding the changes can be filed in the Federal Docket Management System via regulations.gov referencing Docket ID Number FMCSA-2013-26543

By fax: (202) 493-2251.

By mail or hand delivery: Docket Management Facility, (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room 12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.