ATA slams CSA program, calls FMCSA “unresponsive”

The board of directors of the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) has called on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to make changes to its Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) safety-monitoring system.

The board said the agency has been “unresponsive” to motor carriers’ concerns about the unreliability of scores and suggestions from truckers on how to improve the program.

In a statement, ATA's board and members said that CSA scores are often loose and, at times, have an inverse connection to crash risk. The fleet executives also said that FMCSA’s “unwillingness to frankly discuss the program's weaknesses is very troubling and needs to be addressed.”

"We are all concerned with safety and agree that FMCSA should do everything in its power to enforce the rules," said ATA chairman Dan England, chairman of C.R. England. "However, it is becoming increasingly clear that parts of the program are in need of serious revision— particularly before FMCSA begins using them to generate publicly available fitness scores."

Among the issues ATA has identified for reform are: crash accountability; the lack of research proving increased crash risk for all of CSA's various violation categories; and the publication of carriers' scores in those categories.

"If it were improved, CSA could be a powerful tool to improve trucking's already impressive safety record," said Michael Card, president, Combined Transport Inc.

"That is a goal ATA can clearly support,” Card continued, “but if FMCSA continues to insist on pressing forward with the program without addressing industry's concerns, ATA will have no choice but to explore all avenues of ensuring the program is improved to actually meet its stated, and worthy, objectives."

"From the outset, ATA has supported FMCSA's efforts to improve its enforcement capabilities through CSA," said ATA president & CEO Gov. Bill Graves. "Through CSA's development and implementation, the agency had been responsive to suggestions and made an effort to improve the program as needed. However, recently our members have become concerned that the agency has become increasingly unresponsive, even in the face of data and logic."



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