FMCSA scraps 2015 proposal to alter CSA to pursue larger reforms to program
Proposed revisions to the U.S. DOT’s Compliance, Safety,
Accountability carrier scoring program — and to how the DOT uses those
scores to target carriers deemed at risk for crashes — are being
withdrawn, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced
Friday in a formal notice. The changes, proposed in July 2015 by FMCSA,
sought to better align CSA’s Safety Measurement System BASIC scores with
carriers’ risk of being involved in a crash.
However, the proposed reforms are being tabled due to ongoing work by
the agency to implement a larger overhaul of the CSA program. Spelled
out in a Congressionally mandated report last June, the National
Academies of Science recommended that the agency rework the SMS and its
underlying statistical model.
FMCSA says the reforms proposed in 2015 conflict with the
recommendations issued by the NAS report. The NAS report was required by
Congress later the same year, when lawmakers also forced FMCSA to
remove from public view CSA’s SMS percentile rankings.
The reforms being withdrawn include:
(1) Changes to the so-called intervention thresholds used by the agency to target carriers deemed at risk of a crash;
(2) Segmenting the Hazmat Compliance BASIC (and making it public);
(3) Switching violations for operating while out of service to the
Unsafe Driving BASIC (away from whatever BASIC caused the OOS order);
(4) Increasing the maximum vehicle miles traveled used in the agency’s
calculations to more accurately reflect operations of high-utilization
Under the changes, the interventional threshold in the Vehicle
Maintenance BASIC would have been lowered to the 75th percentile from
the 80th percentile, meaning potentially more carriers would have been
targeted with warning letters, off- or on-site focused or comprehensive
audits or other investigations. The intervention threshold in the
Controlled Substances BASIC would have been raised to the 90th
percentile, thus encompassing fewer fleets. It would have maintained the
65th percentile intervention threshold for the BASICs the agency says
have a stronger correlation to crash risk: Unsafe Driving, Crash
Indicator and Hours of Service Compliance.
In October 2016, the agency implemented a preview website to show
carriers and owner-operators how their scores would have been affected
by these changes and other reforms proposed afterward. The agency said
Friday it has taken down the preview site.
FMCSA’s proposals sought to institute changes to better the system
already in place. However, the 2017 report from the National Academies
of Science recommended a major overhaul of the system, starting with the
roadside inspection data that feeds the SMS ratings. The report did not
go into great depth about how the agency should reconfigure the SMS
system, but it did recommend that the agency scrap its current model for
determining ratings and opt instead for one based on so-called “item
response theory.” An IRT model would more accurately target high-risk
carriers, NAS said.
The report also recommended the agency make the scoring system more
transparent and easier to understand and to depart from using relative,
carrier-to-carrier comparison-based scoring as the sole means for
targeting carriers via safety scores.
FMCSA has not provided a timeline for when it will implement the
reforms. However, FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez told Congress in May
that the agency has contracted with the NAS and is in the process of
developing a reformed CSA program.
Before the NAS issued its report, FMCSA proposed other changes to the
CSA system, including raising the minimum number of crashes needed
before registering a Crash Indicator BASIC score. The agency in October
2016 issued a proposal to increase that number from two crashes to three
crashes. The agency’s Friday announcement did not mention that proposal
as one being withdrawn.
Original article provided by: https://www.ccjdigital.com/fmcsa-scraps-2015-proposal-to-alter-csa-to-pursue-larger-reforms-to-program/
CSA , FMCSA