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9/13/2012 3:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Trucking Tells Congress CSA Program’s Goals Are Admirable But Cites Data Flaws

The government’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program needs changes in order to be better able to achieve its stated goals, a trucking industry official representing American Trucking Associations told a congressional panel Thursday.

While ATA “has been supportive of the objective of CSA, to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities, since the program’s inception [ATA has had] significant concerns with [CSA] in its current form,” said Scott Mugno, vice president of safety for FedEx Corp.’s Ground unit.

Mugno, testifying before the House Transportation Committee’s highway subcommittee, cited issues in data weakness that prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from having enough information to properly evaluate carriers.

He also said that methodology issues that count all crashes, regardless of preventability, against a carrier as among the most significant issues with the CSA program.

Fleets earlier this summer told FMCSA in written comments that the CSA system did not accurately portray carriers’ safety records, while noting that shippers were increasingly scrutinizing CSA scores.

Also testifying before the subcommittee were FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, several other trucking executives and David Palmer, the assistant chief of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Subcommittee members sought to establish a widespread trucking industry objection to much of CSA, while encouraging Ferro to make changes to it that the industry supports.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.), the panel’s top Democrat, pointed specifically to FMCSA’s current policy of giving similar scores for carriers’ involvement in crashes, whether or not the carrier is accountable for that crash.

Lawmakers expressed their concern about the policy before the December 2010 launch of CSA, and DeFazio said he was not pleased with FMCSA’s inaction on the issue.

“It’s been just a little over two years since, prior to [CSA’s] implementation, we held a hearing in this subcommittee regarding this new system, and at that time we expressed a number of concerns that still endure,” DeFazio said.

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By Transport Topics
Staff Reporter Timothy Cama contributed to this story.

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