FMCSA Launches New Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program
The FMCSA’s new safety program, CSA, went live over the weekend of December 12th. The general public now has access to most of the Motor Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS) data for each carrier after a federal appeals court denied a suit to prevent the release of the CSA safety data.
With this official rollout, the program is now known as Compliance, Safety, Accountability – rather than its previous name Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, or CSA 2010.
The key component of CSA is the SMS data, which analyzes all safety-based violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier's on-road performance. The SMS uses seven safety improvement categories, called BASICs, to examine a carrier's on-road performance and potential crash risk. CSA officially replaces Safestat, FMCSA's former measurement system, which assessed carrier performance in only four broad categories. For a more detailed background on CSA, click here.
The general public can now go to http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms and view SMS data for a carrier by entering a carrier’s DOT or MC number. The search will reveal data that includes the carrier's BASICs scores in five of the seven categories (2 categories – Crash BASIC and Cargo Related BASIC are not currently accessible to the public). Below is an example of a search that reveals less than desirable scores (notice 4 “alerts”):
According to recent analysis by Commercial Carrier Journal, barely 12 percent of active motor carriers are ranked in any of the five publicly available BASICs. The majority of carriers are unranked because FMCSA set minimum thresholds of inspections to be considered within BASIC safety event groups. Those floors vary, but generally carriers must have three to five inspections in the past 24 months to be ranked in a BASIC.
More than half the carriers that are ranked have at least one “alert”, meaning they exceed the threshold for intervention. A majority of those alerts are in the Fatigued Driving BASIC. FMCSA plans to use those rankings to target interventions under its new graduated process, which starts with warning letters and escalates potentially to full-blown compliance reviews.
To help minimize the inappropriate use of SMS data to possibly characterize a carrier as unsafe or noncompliant, the FMCSA has posted a disclaimer on the SMS website indicating that the system does not represent a Safety Fitness Determination (SFD), is not a Safety Rating pursuant to 49 C.F.R. Part 385, and does not represent FMCSA’s final determination regarding the accuracy of the data contained in the SMS.
The FMCSA continues to highly recommend that all motor carriers periodically review the SMS data system and when necessary verify the accuracy of their SMS data through DataQs, an electronic data correcting system in which carriers can request a data review. The DataQ system is available online at http://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/.
FMCSA also provides Safety Improvement Resources (SIRs) – a compilation of articles, reports, and other tools designed to assist motor carriers with improving their current safety management practices.
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