Audit says CSA data process still flawed, hinders program’s effectiveness

Updated Mar 11, 2014

inspectionFMCSA’s data collection process for its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program has shortcomings the agency needs to address, according to a recent audit of the program, or the agency won’t be able to “effectively implement” the program nor will it be able to address some of the major concerns of the trucking industry. 

The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General — in a report that builds some on the report released by the Government Accountability Office released last month — said the agency  needs to take action in “key areas” to improve the quality of the data it uses to score carriers and drivers in CSA. 

The agency has not fully implemented improvements it planned to nor has it taken the action needed to correct inaccurate or incomplete data reported from carriers, which the IG report notes are recommendations that date back to 2006. 

The DOT Inspector General and the GAO coordinated efforts, the report says. The GAO’s February-released report pointed to inherent flaws in CSA’s ability to score carriers and compare them to others. The GAO also showed that the program is unfair in particular for small carriers and recommended FMCSA overhaul the program.

Both the GAO’s report and the recent IG report show findings like those found by Overdrive last year in its CSA’s Data Trail series, which analyzed data from the program in its first two years. Click here to see the CSA’s Data Trail website.

The latest report from the IG, however, also says FMCSA’s documentation for processes like how it validates and tests carrier percentile rankings in the system, as well as a lack of documentation that it followed “information technology system best practices and Federal guidance” when developing and testing the Safety Measurement System — the key scoring and peer comparison component of the system. 

Overdrive sister site CCJ has an in-depth write-up on the IG’s report with industry response. Click here to read it.

Click here to see coverage of the GAO’s report.

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