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Third Request for Study on CSA Scoring System Denied

Posted: August 1, 2014

ARLINGTON, VA. — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) wants the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to release a study of the links between violations and crash risk used to develop its methodology for assigning carriers’ scores in its monitoring and measurement system: Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA).

“As a regulated industry, trucking has a right and a need to know how the system we operate under was crafted,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “FMCSA has an obligation to release this study so that the industry, and other stakeholders, may evaluate CSA and offer substantive proposals to improve it.”

The study, “2007 Violation Severity Assessment Study Final Report,” was used as a component in the development of the severity weights in CSA, which are assigned to all violations on a scale of 1-10 based on their relationship to crash occurrence and consequences.

This is the third time since May 2012 that the ATA has requested the study. All three requests have been denied, along with a request from the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) — a group appointed by the FMCSA to advise the agency on regulatory and program issues.

The MCSAC said that further data collection is needed to establish crash causation relationships to justify weighting scores. Without that data, MCSAC recommendations in regards to the appropriate violation severity weights largely reflected “guesswork” on the relationship between particular violations and crashes, according to the MCSAC’s final report.

ATA also pointed to an evaluation of CSA by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute that described the assignment of severity weights as “arbitrary.” The evaluation also said that it is not known whether the weights used in the calculation of BASICs scores are appropriate.

“This pattern of failing to disclose critical background information, despite numerous requests, contradicts the agency’s claims of openness and transparency,” Graves said.

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