SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

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New GAO Report Confirms Industry's CSA Concerns Are Well Founded

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, leaders at American Trucking Associations praised the Government Accountability Office's review of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's CSA safety monitoring program and called on the agency to make immediate changes to the program.

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"The GAO's review of FMCSA's Compliance, Safety, Accountability program was comprehensive, thoughtful and balanced," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "While ATA has long supported CSA's objectives, we can't help but agree with GAO's findings that the scores produced by the program don't present an accurate or precise assessment of the safety of many carriers."

The report found that FMCSA lacks sufficient safety performance data on most carriers to reliably compare them with other carriers. This is a particularly acute problem for small carriers who comprise more than 95% of the industry.

Further, according to GAO, for CSA to be effective in identifying carriers more likely to have a crash, the violation data used by the system should have a relationship to crash risk.  However, for the vast majority of violations FMCSA has not demonstrated the relationship between violation groups and motor carrier crash risk due, in part, to the lack of data. According to GAO's analysis, of those with sufficient data, only 13 violations consistently had some association with crash risk and only two "had sufficient data to consistently establish a substantial and statistically reliable relationship with crash risk across all (of their) tests."

"Given GAO's findings, FMCSA should remove all carriers' scores from public view," said Dave Osiecki, ATA executive vice president and chief of national advocacy. "Since scores are so often unreliable, third parties are prone to making erroneous judgments based on inaccurate data, an inequity that can only be solved in the near term by removing the scores from public view."

The report also calls into question FMCSA's intention on using CSA data as a basis for its Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking, scheduled for later this year.

"Basing a carrier's safety fitness determination on limited performance data may misrepresent the safety status of carriers, particularly those without sufficient data from which to reliably draw such a conclusion," the report said. 

"It would clearly be improper for FMCSA to proceed with its plan to base carrier safety fitness determinations on data from the system, until the problems identified by GAO have been rectified," Osiecki said. 

American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation's freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Good stuff. Trucks Bring It!

SOURCE American Trucking Associations

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