FMCSA Launches CSA 2010 for Commercial Trucks, Buses
The centerpiece of CSA is the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which will analyze all safety-based violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier’s on-road performance.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) programs on Dec. 13, taking a step toward improving commercial truck and bus safety.
The program, supported by large trucking companies and the American Trucking Associations, is the renamed CSA 2010 initiative that FMCSA has been working on all year. Last month the agency said it would be modifying some of the program’s guidelines, including changing "deficient" to "alert" when a motor carrier's score in one or more BASIC categories is above the agency's threshold for intervention. See “The CSA 2010 Rollout” (page 80, Sept. 2010 issue of OHS) and “It’s Time to Get Serious About CSA 2010” for in-depth information about the progression of the program.
The centerpiece of CSA is the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which will analyze all safety-based violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier’s on-road performance. The new safety program will allow FMCSA to reach more carriers earlier and deploy a range of corrective interventions to address a carrier’s specific safety problems.
“The CSA program will help us more easily identify unsafe commercial truck and bus companies,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Better data and targeted enforcement will raise the safety bar for commercial carriers and empower them to take action before safety problems occur.”
The program also will provide the public with safety data in a more user friendly format. This will give consumers a better picture of those carriers that pose a safety risk. CSA was also tested in nine pilot states before the program was launched.
“We worked closely with our partners in the motor vehicle community to develop this powerful new program,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “CSA is an important new tool that will help reduce commercial vehicle-related crashes and save lives.”
The SMS uses seven safety improvement categories called BASICs to examine a carrier’s on-road performance and potential crash risk. The BASICs are unsafe driving, fatigued driving (hours-of-service), driver fitness, controlled substances/alcohol, vehicle maintenance, cargo-related, and crash indicator. Under FMCSA’s old measurement system, carrier performance was assessed in only four broad categories.
By looking at a carrier’s safety violations in each SMS category, FMCSA and state law enforcement will be better equipped to identify carriers with patterns of high-risk behaviors and apply interventions that provide carriers the information necessary to change unsafe practices early on.
Safety interventions include early warning letters, targeted roadside inspections and focused compliance reviews that concentrate enforcement resources on specific issues identified by the SMS.
FMCSA will continue to conduct onsite comprehensive compliance reviews for carriers with safety issues across multiple BASICs. And, where a carrier has not taken the appropriate corrective action, FMCSA will invoke strong civil penalties.
To learn more about the new CSA program, visit http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/. To see the new SMS, visit http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms.