DOT Changes To CSA A Good Start But Program Still Needs Work To Improve Highway Safety
Grain Valley, MO… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, OOIDA, responded to the announcement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to make certain improvements to the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.
CSA is the FMCSA’s program that intends to prevent commercial vehicle-related crashes, injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roadways. The Association has contended that the CSA scoring system is prejudicial, arbitrary and disproportionately punishes small businesses.
“We’ve known it’s been a work in progress, and today’s announcement shows that the agency is listening to what truckers have been saying and taking those things into consideration,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice-president of OOIDA. “However, 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.”
OOIDA has also said that there is an inherent lack of fairness or accuracy in the system, and the FMCSA has failed to account for whether a truck driver is actually at fault for the accidents reported.
“The onus is on FMCSA to show their program actually can identify carriers that really are likely to be involved in at-fault crashes as opposed to just running up numbers on the ‘alphabet soup’ of regulations they have on their books. The system operates from the premise that every trucker is the bad guy and this is a flawed approach for creating legitimate safety statistics or improving safety,” Spencer said.
“We are still reviewing the new changes and believe revising certain severity weightings are a step in the right direction, but we believe that FMCSA is still glossing over the lack of attribution of fault into the system.”
“FMCSA is boasting that millions of people are now checking the CSA website. It is clear the impact that this program is having on the trucking and shipping industry, and ultimately on people’s livelihoods. Therefore, it is imperative that FMCSA fix the flaws,” said Spencer.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo., area.