The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General has agreed to conduct an in-depth audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, at the request of Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-Tennessee), Chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
The audit is to include an evaluation of the relationship between CSA’s safety scoring system for commercial fleets and truck drivers and actual crash risks. “Witnesses at the September 13 [subcommittee] hearing raised concerns that a lack of adequate safety data, inappropriate weighting of violations, and other scoring problems are causing CSA to erroneously label carrier safety performance,” Rep. Duncan stated in his request.
The American Trucking Association has endorsed the call for an audit. “The Congressman’s concerns are legitimate and appropriate and should be explored to the extent that they line up with the concerns we have expressed,” stated an ATA spokesman. In response to shippers’ complaints that they are unable to use CSA’s safety (“BASIC”) scores to make determinations about which truckers are safest, FMCSA suggests that is not the purpose of the program. CSA’s purpose, says the Agency’s associate director for enforcement, “is to identify the people that are so unsafe we need them out of business.”