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July 12, 2016 3:40 PM, EDT

Data Improvements Needed to Enhance Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, CVSA Official Says

WASHINGTON — The quality of data used in a federal state grant program needs to improve to ensure the program’s effectiveness, the president of a leading safety group told a Senate panel on July 12.

“Improvement to data quality and information technology systems will ensure states and FMCSA have the information they need to continue to improve the effectiveness of [Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program],” Maj. Jay Thompson of the Arkansas Highway Police and president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said in a statement to the Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security.

The Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant funds at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration help maintain states’ commercial motor vehicle enforcement programs while supporting state-conducted compliance investigations, roadside inspections, new entrant audits and traffic enforcement.

Thompson added that a long-term funding mechanism must be identified to ensure MCSAP continues to grow with the trucking industry.

“Enforcement and industry must come together to identify a responsible, practical approach to exemptions and we must address deficiencies related to passenger carrier enforcement in order to keep our roadways safe for the people traveling on them,” he said.

Under 2015’s FAST Act, the U.S. Department of Transportation established the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Formula Working Group to analyze the requirements and factors for establishing a new allocation formula for the program.