FMCSA: Study shows CSA improves compliance

| September 01, 2011

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Aug. 31 announced an independent evaluation of the agency’s Compliance Safety Accountability program’s operational model test confirm that CSA substantially improves the agency’s enforcement and compliance model.

FMCSA says the results of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s findings confirm the CSA model enables the agency and its state partners to contact more commercial motor carriers earlier to correct safety problems and ensure compliance with safety regulations to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities related to commercial motor vehicles. However, FMCSA says the evaluator also identified areas that require improvement and that it is committed to a continuous improvement process for the program.

Launched in 2008, the CSA op-model test divided motor carriers from four test states – Colorado, Georgia, Missouri and New Jersey – between test and control groups. FMCSA says UMTRI evaluated the effectiveness of the new Safety Measurement System and CSA interventions, compared the cost and efficiency of the CSA compliance and enforcement model to the previous model, and found effectiveness and efficiency gains that supported national implementation of CSA.

FMCSA added additional states – Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota and Montana – to the test to demonstrate full implementation challenges and to provide a validation dataset for evaluation purposes. FMCSA says that according to UMTRI’s study, CSA’s SMS better identifies motor carriers for safety interventions than the previous SafeStat system.

According to FMCSA, other findings were:

  • The results showed SMS is an improvement over the SafeStat system in identifying unsafe carriers;
  • Crash rates were higher for motor carriers identified with safety problems in the SMS’ seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories than for motor carriers that were not identified with safety problems in the BASICs; and
  • The crash rate for motor carriers that were identified with safety problems by the SMS in the Unsafe Driving BASIC was more than three times greater than the crash rate for motor carriers not identified with any safety problems by SMS.

FMCSA says the study also determined that CSA interventions are effective in improving motor carriers’ safety behavior.

The effect of the warning letter intervention is likely one of the most significant findings in this evaluation. Twelve months after receiving a warning letter, 83 percent of test carriers had resolved identified safety problems, and only 17 percent continued to have safety problems.

The new CSA Onsite Focused Investigations proved to be effective, according to the study. Almost 20 percent fewer motor carriers continued to show safety problems 12 months after an onsite focused investigation, as compared with those receiving traditional compliance reviews.


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