Hopefully the concern about CSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores is now hitting a critical mass as more and more organizations voice their complaints.
Every week, additional organizations and people in the trucking industry are letting the government know just how upset they are with the highly flawed CSA scores that are negatively impacting so many companies.
Just last week, an article on ccjdigital.com noted that, less than one month after the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Foxx asking him to remove the scores from the agency’s Website, new groups have done the same. The Alliance for Safe, Efficient, and Competitive Truck Transportation (ASECTT), National Association of Small Trucking Companies, California Construction Trucking Association, The Expedite Association of North America, Auto Haulers Association of America, and others, sent a petition to Secretary Foxx with essentially the same message.
The fact that a number of studies conducted since the rules went into effect have demonstrated that the scoring methodology is flawed should cause bureaucrats to reconsider the entire system. Unfortunately, that has not occurred. A 2011 Wells Fargo report found no correlation between SMS data and crash predictability among large carriers.
The most egregious practice, considering the unreliability of the data, is the public availability of scores on the FMCSA’s Website. The letter sent last month by the ATA and OOIDA stated, “We urge you to direct FMCSA to remove carriers’ SMS scores from public view. Doing so will not only spare motor carriers harm from erroneous scores, but will also reduce the possibility that the marketplace will drive business to potentially risky carriers that are erroneously being painted as more safe.”
If you really want to see how flawed the scoring system is, here is a chart showing the Drivers’ top 10 problems with CSA from Overdrive’s March 2014 CSA Survey.
What is abundantly clear is that something needs to be done to protect the industry, the drivers, and the public by finding a way to fairly measure truck safety and, as of this point, the FMCSA has not found that way.
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