CSA system needs improvement, panel says

| November 09, 2011

Sant said that while CSA is a step in the right direction, more work needs to be done. While he agrees with FMCSA’s objectives to reach more carriers, increase driver accountability and improve safety, he also cited several concerns:

  • Visibility: CSA’s Safety Measurement System isn’t a reliable predictor of crashes. He also voiced concerns about the impending Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking, with the risk of that information being misunderstood by the public, customers, claimants and law enforcement;
  • Driver accountability is a worthy goal, but carriers remain limited in their ability to improve driver accountability. Many drivers under the gun will shift to carriers that aren’t as scrutinized, leaving the previous carrier holding the “bad grade” bag. “Is that really safer or fair?” Sant asked; and
  • FMCSA’s compliance focus and peer comparison concepts are laudable, but Sant said there’s little direct safety benefit. The compliance focus may be misguided due to data flaws since there’s no baseline of acceptable performance, which leads to floating standards. Meanwhile, true peer comparisons are difficult due to differences among carrier size, markets and equipment.

“We have to account for the disparity in enforcement in different areas,” said Sant, pointing out how Indiana and other nearby states far and away are citing carriers more often. “We need to account for disparity within a safety event group.”

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