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8/24/2012 3:30:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

FMCSA Sets Changes to CSA Program

Bruce Harmon/Trans Pixs

Many of the changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s safety ratings program announced earlier this year will be implemented in December, administrator Anne Ferro said Friday.

FMCSA will rename the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Cargo-Related Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category the Hazardous Materials Compliance BASIC, but only motor carriers and law enforcement officials will have access to carrier safety scores in that category for the first 12 months.

Ferro said the CSA changes will allow the agency to sharpen its focus on which motor carriers and bus operators are most in need of agency intervention.

“Our preliminary data shows that fatalities involving commercial vehicles dropped 4.7% last year compared to 2010,” Ferro said.

“Still, on average, nearly 4,000 people die in large truck and bus crashes each year,” she said. “That is why we are implementing these important changes to make CSA even more effective.”

The agency also will implement a planned change to include cargo-related violations in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC, Ferro said in a telephone news conference Friday.

In addition, she said the Fatigued Driving BASIC will become the Hours-of-Service Compliance BASIC.

FMCSA also said it will remove 1-mph-to-5-mph speeding violations to ensure citations are consistent with current speedometer regulations.

While some of the adjustments the agency announced were responsive to motor carrier concerns, most were related to improving compliance rather than crash risk, said Rob Abbott, vice president of safety policy for American Trucking Associations.

Separately, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the announcement “shows that [FMCSA] is listening to what truckers have been saying and taking those things into consideration,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice-president.

But he added that “impatience from truckers should not be unexpected when a program has real-life consequences on professionals that know of no other way to do business but safely,” he said in a statement.

By Eric Miller
Staff Reporter

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