The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said today that it has restored to its web site the raw data used to compile safety scores for its Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) carrier-grading system.
Under the five-year federal transport-spending bill signed into law Dec. 4, FMCSA was required to withdraw from public view the carriers' performance scores compiled under its Safety Management System (SMS), and the comparative scores among carriers. However, the agency was permitted to keep the raw data on its site. The agency said today that it also removed the raw data on Dec. 4 to give itself time to modify its SMS site to be compliant with the new law. The modification work is now completed, FMCSA said.
The feature of the CSA program that was removed from public view was the most controversial. Under the program's methodology, a carrier and driver's safety performance are rated by seven criteria known by the acronym of BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories). Based on a carrier's BASIC scores and comparisons with the scores of other carriers, FMCSA determined how it should intervene against a carrier, if it did so at all. Intervention steps would range from a warning letter to stiff fines and penalties to a determination that a carrier is unfit to operate.
Industry interests have long argued that FMCSA lacks sufficient safety performance information to reliably compare one carrier with another. The flawed methodology, combined with a dearth of resources to analyze more than a relatively small group out of 530,000 registered U.S. motor carriers, results in good and bad carriers being lumped together, and can portray fit carriers as unfit, and vice versa, industry groups contended.