FMCSA Reaches Settlement Agreement in CSA Lawsuit
Under the agreement, FMCSA will make changes to CSA's Safety Measurement System (SMS) public website to address concerns regarding the display of information on a commercial motor carrier's safety performance.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has reached a settlement agreement with three trucking associations that will end litigation over information published on the website of FMCSA's motor carrier enforcement program, Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA). Administrator Anne Ferro said the settlement agreement "addressed the concerns raised by petitioners without compromising the CSA program and its safety benefits."
The National Association of Small Trucking Companies, Inc. (NASTC), the Expedite Alliance of North America (TEANA), and the Air & Expedited Motor Carriers Association (AEMCA) filed suit Nov. 29, 2010, challenging the CSA program. Under the agreement, FMCSA will make changes to CSA's Safety Measurement System (SMS) public website to address concerns regarding the display of information on a commercial motor carrier's safety performance.
The key changes that FMCSA will make to the SMS public website by March 25, 2011, are these:
- Replace any ALERT symbol currently displayed in orange on the SMS website with the symbol of an exclamation mark inside a yellow triangle.
- Revise the disclaimer language on the SMS website to read: The data in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) is performance data used by the Agency and enforcement community. An exclamation mark inside a yellow triangle symbol, based on that data, indicates that FMCSA may prioritize a motor carrier for further monitoring. The yellow triangle symbol is not intended to imply any federal safety rating of the carrier pursuant to 49 USC 31144. Readers should not draw conclusions about a carrier's overall safety condition simply based on the data displayed in this system. Unless a motor carrier in the SMS has received an UNSATISFACTORY safety rating pursuant to 49 CFR Part 385, or has otherwise been ordered to discontinue operations by the FMCSA, it is authorized to operate on the nation's roadways. Motor carrier safety ratings are available at http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov and motor carrier licensing and insurance status are available at http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov.
On Dec. 13, 2010, FMCSA launched its CSA enforcement program that is used to analyze all safety-based violations from roadside inspections and crashes to measure a commercial motor carrier's on-road safety performance. 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 program, supported by large trucking companies and the American Trucking Associations, is the renamed CSA 2010 initiative that FMCSA worked on last year. In November, 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.
To learn more about the settlement agreement, visit the CSA website at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/.