Even as the trucking industry, outside auditors and now Congress question the reliability and effectiveness of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is making its carrier data more readily accessible to the public.
Called “QCMobile,” (QC standing for “Query Central”), FMCSA touts the new app as “a particularly valuable tool” for state and federal law enforcement personnel, as well as insurers, brokers, freight-forwarders, and others interested in reviewing the USDOT registration and safety performance information of motor carriers.
“By making currently available safety information on interstate truck and bus companies more easily accessible for both law enforcement personnel and the general public, we are providing greater transparency while making our roadways safer for everyone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The new QCMobile app, which requires no log-in, immediately reveals whether the federal operating status of the carrier is authorized while helping to expedite an “inspect/pass” decision by a certified commercial vehicle safety inspector, FMCSA says.
QCMobile retrieves data from a number of FMCSA sources and provides a summary of the results. Law enforcement officers and safety inspectors then have the option of retrieving more detailed information on carriers covering their seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) that are a part of FMCSA’s cornerstone safety program, CSA.
American Trucking Assns., however, calls the new offering “recklessness cloaking itself as transparency,” and called on FMCSA to “immediately pull this tool from the marketplace.”
ATA spokesman Sean McNally emphasized that CSA was designed to better target potentially unsafe carriers, but a report issued by the Government Accountability Office last year characterized CSA safety scores as often being unreliable and imprecise, and GAO repeated those concerns earlier this month in testimony before the U.S. Senate.
“FMCSA has looked past many examples of how CSA erroneously labels safe fleets as unsafe and vice-versa. Given the serious problems with the validity of CSA scores, it is wholly inappropriate for FMCSA to encourage and facilitate public access and use,” McNally said. “If CSA cannot effectively identify high-risk carriers, making safe carriers’ unreliable scores more accessible to the public is simply irresponsible. We urge the public not to use this app given the serious flaws in CSA that have been identified by GAO and others.”