If you think the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program has misdirected carriers’ safety focus in a big way, you’ll find a friend in David McKane.
“The feds built something that’s not meeting the goal,” says McKane, a manager for Oregon’s Department of Transportation’s investigations division. Noting the huge amount of time ODOT spends dealing with often unwarranted DataQs challenges to violations, McKane believes that carriers’ focus on CSA scores is wrong.
“There’s so much time being spent arguing and bickering about violations on an inspection that may or may not have anything to do with safety,” he says.
McKane is aware of why that’s so, and doesn’t blame the carriers. “They’re trying to deal with CSA, too,” he says.
For the first time in the 29 years McKane has spent in truck enforcement in Oregon, the state this year didn’t apply for the federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant. “It got to the point that we didn’t see the value in it,” he says. “We’d invested plenty in our program before [MCSAP] came around. When we accepted the money, we had to do things that didn’t make our program any better.”
McKane cites new entrant audits as an example. “After several years, we came to the conclusion it didn’t have that much of an effect.”
The lack of federal dollars ultimately will make “no difference” on Oregon’s overall truck enforcement efforts, he says.