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Research: CSA Ratings Improve Under Alternative Analysis

Posted: November 10, 2015

ARLINGTON, VA — New research indicates truck fleet safety scores under a U.S. government program improve when non-preventable crashes are excluded from the equation.

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) on Tuesday released its latest research into the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA) program, called “Assessing the Impact of Non-Preventable Crashes on CSA Scores.”

In this analysis, ATRI says it investigated the affect of excluding non-preventable crashes on scores FMCSA keeps about how likely a fleet is to be involved in a future crash.

The analysis used carrier crash records, mapped to an FMCSA database, to identify “a small and non-controversial subset of non-preventable crashes with the following causes: animal collision, other vehicle hits legally parked truck, other vehicle ran a stop light or sign and hit a truck, the driver of the other vehicle was driving under the influence, or truck-assisted suicide.”

The ATRI analysis then removed these crashes and “recalculated” the “crash indicator measure” in the CSA program, showing a nearly 15 percent drop.

“The trucking industry has identified a number of flaws in FMCSA’s calculation of carrier safety performance through the CSA BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) and perhaps none is more egregious than the inclusion of non-preventable crashes in the Crash Indicator BASIC,” said Scott Mugno, a member of ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee as well as vice president of safety and maintenance for FedEx Ground. “ATRI’s latest analysis, using a very conservative definition of non-preventable crashes, demonstrates just how skewed FMCSA’s BASIC calculations can be.”

Beyond CSA BASIC score impacts, these non-preventable crashes exact a toll on motor carriers and commercial drivers, according to ATRI, not-for-profit research arm of the American Trucking Associations.

The group says its analysis documents these impacts in detail, including real-world crash examples collected from the industry and estimates non-preventable crash costs exceed US$68 million for the 15 carriers in the analysis.

A copy of this report is available from the ATRI website.

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