FMCSA proposes raising CSA crash threshold to three crashes before score is calculated

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In addition to the two-year program intended to test the feasibility of removing certain non-preventable crashes from carriers’ CSA scores, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration this week also announced a proposed methodological change to the CSA Crash Indicator BASIC. The change, if finalized, would raise the minimum number of crashes to three — from the current two — needed before a carrier receives a Crash Indicator BASIC rating.

Crashes follow carriers in CSA for a rolling 24-month period. If a carrier is involved in two crashes in the trailing 24-month period, crashes will be included in their Safety Measurement System rankings.

Under the agency’s proposed change, however, carriers would need to record three crashes in the rolling 24-month period before crashes would enter into their SMS scores. The agency says an analysis of the proposed change barely shifted crash rate associated with the 65 percent intervention threshold for the Crash Indicator BASIC, raising it to 6.34 crashes per 100 power units from the current 6.33. “This suggests that using a minimum of three crashes would continue to identify a group of carriers with high crash rates,” the agency wrote in the document proposing the change.

FMCSA will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register soon, it says, to officially announce the proposal and to request public comment.

The changes were filed under the same docket in which FMCSA issued a variety of proposed CSA changes in mid-2015. It proposed then to lower the intervention threshold for the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC (to target more carriers for intervention) and raise the intervention threshold for the Controlled Substances BASIC (to target fewer carriers). It also proposed last June to make the Hazmat BASIC public. These proposed changes have not yet been finalized or implemented into the system.

The document proposing the change to the Crash Indicator BASIC was published Tuesday, July 12, alongside a proposed FMCSA plan to implement a two-year, real-world study of adding a form of “crash accountability” to the CSA SMS system.

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The plan, detailed at this link on Overdrive, if put in place will allow carriers to contest crashes deemed non-preventable by the carrier. Carriers will use the existing DataQs system to file requests for review of such crashes, and the agency will make a determination about their preventability. If the agency deems a contested crash non-preventable by the carrier or driver, it will remove the crash from their record and recalculate their Crash Indicator BASIC score.

The agency is accepting public comment on the proposed plan until Sept. 12. Comments can be filed at this link.

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