Ever since their introduction in 2011, CSA scores – ratings produced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability program – have been the subject of much ire for truckers and the commercial trucking industry. The scores are made available to the public, which means shippers, customers and other third-parties can use the scores against the carriers and truckers. While the intent of making the scores public was increased accountability and transparency, the data has been plagued by inaccuracies and inconsistencies.
Problems with the CSA Scores
The commercial trucking industry points to four main issues that cause the scores to be in accurate or misleading:
- Lack of data on small carriers prevents the scores from providing meaningful comparisons
- Enforcement disparities between regions of the country cause carriers who operate in stricter regions to be perceived as less safe
- Questionable assignment of severity weights to individual violations skew carriers' scores
- Underreporting of crashes by states and the increased exposure to crashes by carriers who operate in densely populated regions result in misleading scores
Because of these concerns, the trucking industry has lobbied to have the data removed from public view. And it may soon get its wish. On September 18, a bill was introduced to the House of Representatives that would require the FMCSA to remove the scores from public view and require the FMCSA to submit a plan to Congress that would improve the way the CSA currently scores truckers and truck carriers. The bill is known as the Safer Trucks and Buses Act. In order to become law, the bill must pass in the House of Representatives and Congress and then signed by the President.