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8/14/2012 2:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

CSA Doesn’t Accurately Reflect Safety, Fleets Tell FMCSA in New Comments

By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Aug. 13 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Several trucking fleets said that the government’s safety scoring methodology does not accurately assess safety performance.

In comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, YRC Worldwide Inc. said that its concerns about the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program are amplified by the fact shippers are increasingly relying on the system.

“The impact of the [CSA] safety measurement system cannot be underestimated,” Terry Budimlija, YRC Freight’s safety director, wrote in July 30 comments. “Shippers are increasingly scrutinizing the records of their carriers.”

Shippers fear that plaintiffs’ attorneys will use the CSA safety ratings to pursue multi-million-dollar vicarious liability lawsuits, YRC said.

The company’s comments were in response to FMCSA’s proposal to alter the CSA program, including creating a hazardous materials Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category, transferring cargo-related violations to the vehicle maintenance BASIC and also study how it could assign fault for truck-related crashes.

FMCSA said it is reviewing all comments and expects to finalize CSA changes this month.

Landstar System said CSA’s “flawed data algorithm is not correlated to crashes.”

“There is no proof that a high BASIC under the current methodology is linked to crashes,” wrote Jeannie Gordon, vice president of compliance for Landstar Transportation Logistics. “Some carriers with high BASIC scores have low crash scores,” she wrote.

FedEx Corp. said it is concerned that accidents a carrier could not prevent were still listed on safety profiles.

“Crashes where the driver was not at fault impact the motor carrier’s score the same as crashes where the driver was at fault,” wrote James Ferguson, FedEx’s corporate vice president. “As a result, a safe motor carrier could have a high crash indicator score as a result of the misfortune of being involved in non-preventable crashes.”

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