CSA Program Suffering Growing Pains

The CSA Program was launched in 2011 under much scrutiny and controversy. A year later the program is suffering growing pains and remains a work in progress.

The Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program was introduced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with the idea of rating carriers based on data such as unsafe driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness, alcohol and drugs, vehicle maintenance, cargo security and crash history. These categories would be knows as BASIC’s; Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. In turn carriers are given scores in each of these categories and these scores are then posted as a CSA rating which replaced Safe Stat.

Although the trucking industry has generally accepted the CSA they do recognize it is a large government program which needs to be tweaked and changed. One such change is to better educate shippers, insurers, brokers about the scores and data. Another concern is the regulations have been implemented more slowly than anticipated along with some confusion. One example of such confusion is only five of the seven BASIC scores are available on the CSA website. Cargo security and crash history are not available to shippers on the website.

One of the biggest concerns according to the American Trucking Associated is the availability of the scores being made public. In the ATA’s opinion these published scores suggest the public use the scores to determine the carriers fitness and even though the FMSCA uses a disclaimer suggest otherwise. The other concern is the elimination of up to 150,000 drivers because of the CSA scores related to driver fitness, alcohol and drugs along, and driver safety. This comes at a time when driver pool is already shrinking and growing freight demand.

The trucking industry is continuing to communicate with the FMCSA to fine tune the CSA score. Also the FMCSA is scheduled to release a preview of a rating system called the Statistical Measurement System. The SMS system will allow motor carriers to review their data and understand how this data will affect their BASIC percentiles. Overall the truck industry understands the need for greater truck safety and continued changes to the CSA can help with this goal.

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