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New CSA Changes Bring No Improvement

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Imagine a baseball team that has played 33 games, has 167 hits, 43 errors, 121 walks and a team ERA of 3.65.

Good team? Who knows? Pretty hard to tell without knowing how many wins and losses they have. There is no comparison with other teams, no standings.

The latest round of CSA changes are like that. Now raw data about trucking companies is once again revealed on the CSA website, but the information that shows how a trucking company is doing versus its peers has not reappeared. Trucking firms can get their scores compared (benchmarked) with other with transportation peers (note: peer has nothing to do with what you haul, where you haul or even if it’s another trucking company) through third parties, for a price.

This “improvement” is all a result of the FAST Act and reaction to it. In the past, CSA data was made private. Now the raw data reappeared yesterday without the information to compare with others. To wit:

“Pursuant to the FAST Act of 2015, certain information previously available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) Website related to property carrier’s compliance and safety performance is no longer available for public display. Property carrier data available to the public includes inspection and crash data, investigation results, and measures for all public Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), however, the Crash Indicator and Hazardous Materials Compliance BASICs remain hidden from public view. Measures are generated directly from safety data and not based on relative comparison to other motor carriers.”

This has happened because trucking firms have properly complained that the system is unfair.

  • The “official scorers” don’t make the same judgments for the same offenses. Like the political primaries, different states can influence winners and losers based on local rules and judgments of their officials (inspectors and police).
  • Some states do a much better job of keeping track of information on trucking while others are remiss.
  • The scoring does not take into consideration which accidents are preventable versus non-preventable.
  • Insurance companies are therefore using faulty data to unjustly punish carriers financially when no punishment is justifiable.

The most basic (no pun intended) question of all is “Does the CSA data correlate with and predict who will have the most accidents and who will not?”

When livelihoods are at stake, businesses that live and die by their safety records deserve better.

It’s said that the mills of God grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine. CSA only grinds slowly.


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