A new study by the American Transportation Research Institute says enforcement disparities and inconsistencies in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program creates uneven safety playing fields for motor carriers that have different operating patterns and mileage exposure.
ATRI, the research arm of the American Trucking Associations, says the analysis documents the necessity for some flexibility in developing enforcement strategies specific to a state’s needs, but also confirms that state enforcement disparities create uneven safety playing fields for carriers that have different operating patterns and mileage exposure in the lower 48 states.
According to a report by Heavy Duty Trucking, the study found different priorities and violation issuance rates across states dramatically undermine the uniformity of the safety assessment program.
“By simply crossing into an adjoining state, carrier BASIC scores can change markedly. For example, ATRI’s model calculated one carrier’s Hours-of-Service percentile decreasing by 4.2 points, but their Vehicle Maintenance percentile increasing by 12.2 points if state violation rates were normalized.”
ATRI’s research findings generate from four specific tasks:
- State Data Metrics Compendium which compares and contrasts several dozen safety and operational metrics for the lower 48 states.
- Relating Violations to Crash Risk Analysis reveals that while certain violations have a stronger relationship to crash risk, these violations may not be equitably emphasized across states.
- State Enforcement Objective Case Studies evaluate the impact of six specific state enforcement priorities on actual safety outcomes.
- Carrier Case Studies quantify the impact of state enforcement disparities on specific motor carrier safety measures within the Safety Measurement System (SMS), based on an ATRI-developed model that assesses the impact that standardizing state enforcement activities would have on SMS scores across seven carriers.
“ATRI’s study unequivocally quantifies what we know is a serious defect in the CSA scoring system – that carrier safety performance as represented by BASIC scores can be dramatically impacted by the states in which a carrier operates based on nothing more than the states’ varying enforcement priorities,” says Brett Sant, Knight Transportation’s vice president of safety and risk management and a member of ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee.
“Until these disparities are rectified, peer-based comparisons within CSA’s scoring system will continue to be flawed and of little value as a tool for monitoring carrier and driver safety performance unless accounted for properly.”
A copy of the study results is available from ATRI at www.atri-online.org.