Aspects of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program are an unreliable measure of driver risk, according to a recently published paper by the American Trucking Associations.
In the report
, the ATA looked at the FMCSA’s safety measurement system (SMS), a measure of the broader CSA ratings, and found that “though there appears to be a statistical correlation between SMS scores in certain categories and crash risk, as well as the total number of alerts assigned and crash risk, the information can often be unreliable and inaccurate.”
The organization explained that of the seven risk categories tracked by the SMS, at least three of them “do not bear a positive statistical relationship to crash risk.” The ATA also noted that even in the categories that do show a correlation with driving risk, there are numerous exceptions that could lead to false assumptions.
“In all categories, data quality, data sufficiency and methodology problems hinder the system’s ability to produce dependable, consistent reflections of safety performance,” the ATA wrote.
Bill Graves, president and chief executive officer of the ATA, said the organization is still behind the CSA, but that adjustments need to be made.
“It may make sense for FMCSA to use scores in those categories that correlate positively with crash risk to prioritize companies for enforcement review,” Graves said in a statement. “In the process, FMCSA can verify whether or not the scores paint an accurate picture. But third parties need to know that for the purposes of drawing conclusions about individual carriers, the scores are unreliable.”
In a proposal published in the Federal Register Dec. 9
, the FMCSA wants to allow truckers to “request inclusion of adjudication information for citations associated with violations” in the agency’s public reports starting early next year.
“These systems would retain the violation when it resulted in a conviction; remove the violation when found not guilty or the violation was dismissed; and indicate the violation when the court outcome shows a conviction of a different charge. When the court outcome shows a conviction of a different charge, the SMS severity weight tied to the violation will be reduced to the lowest possible value,” according to the agency.
The comment period on the proposed change expires Jan. 2.