Overdrive’s CSA exposé wins a top journalism award

Overdrive today won the Grand Neal Award for its series of stories and interactive website on the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. The award represents a best of show honor drawn from dozens of Jesse H. Neal Awards given out in the nation’s most prestigious business journalism competition.

Overdrive also was a finalist in the Best Website category for OverdriveOnline.com and its corresponding daily email newsletter.

American Business Media, a business-to-business media association that runs the Neal Awards, announced the winners in New York City. More than 600 entries competed for honors.  

Click here to see all of Overdrive’s CSA Data Trail stories, along with the interactive maps and downloadable data available with the package.Click here to see all of Overdrive’s CSA Data Trail stories, along with the interactive maps and downloadable data available with the package.

The Grand Neal winner, Overdrive’s CSA’s Data Trail series, was entered in the Best Subject-Related Series of Articles category. 

”Overdrive’s Data Trail struck the judges as both a masterful service to its readers and a master class in how to use data to hold the Federal government accountable for a safety system whose rankings were inconsistent, often unfair, and unacceptably opaque,” said lead judge Trevor Butterworth, editor of Stats.org. ”This is the kind of committed, analytical reporting where the line between B2B and public service disappears into great journalism.”

The three-part package, authored by Senior Editor Todd Dills, on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA program, examined proprietary data from CSA safety rating system. The government data was compiled and sorted for the series by Equipment Data Associates, a division of Overdrive’s publisher, Randall-Reilly. 

The first installment, “Screening out drivers”, explained the complicated scoring system and how irregular interpretation of the data in some cases threatens owner-operators’ careers.

The second, “Inconsistent enforcement”, showed how CSA is stacked against independent drivers, how enforcement priorities (inspections and associated violations) vary arbitrarily by state, and why most carriers still had no public safety score two years after the program’s launch.

The third, “Crashes and interventions”, revealed that the regulatory agency behind CSA fails to focus enforcement efforts on the most accident-prone group, medium-size and larger fleets, instead penalizing single-truck independents and other very small fleets.

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In addition to the in-depth articles, Overdrive built a website, OverdriveOnline.com/csa, dedicated to house the articles and interactive maps that plot inspection intensity measurements, violation priorities and crash intensity by state. 

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