The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a report that says the amount of data used in the agency’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) is “clearly sufficient” to identify high-risk truck and bus companies.
FMCSA said the report the system can identify high-risk carriers continue to have crash rates that are twice the national average.
As reported by Heavy Duty Trucking, in examining commercial motor vehicle crash rates, FMCSA said it looked at carriers of various sizes, per the Congressional directive, and the “analysis revealed no significant difference in actual crash rates between small carriers and those with 20 or more roadside inspections.”
Furthermore, the agency said its examinations also determined that the category of carriers with 11 to 20 inspections and patterns of non-compliance has the highest crash rates.
FMCSA said that determination presents “a clear and immediate intervention opportunity for the agency to proactively bring these carriers into compliance with important safety regulations, including: hours-of-service limitations designed to prevent fatigued driving; vehicle maintenance, and; commercial driver’s license requirements.”
The agency went on to state that its current SMS data-sufficiency standards allow it “to effectively identify and proactively intervene with high-risk carriers before a crash involving a large truck or bus occurs.”
FMCSA said it had disagreed with the Government Accountability Office’s recommendation, issued in March, that the agency increase the minimum number of required roadside safety inspections needed before prioritizing truck and bus companies for interventions because “a delay in responding to known non-compliant carriers would needlessly jeopardize the safety of the motoring public.”
The agency noted that under current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, a carrier’s safety fitness can only be assigned following an on-site investigation and called the SMS, a component of its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, “a tool to prioritize” high-risk truck and bus companies for enforcement interventions.
“Today’s report underscores the critical importance of considering carriers of all sizes in the agency’s continuing efforts to remove unsafe carriers and commercial drivers from the nation’s roadways and protecting travelers everywhere,” stated FMCSA.
The American Trucking Association has not yet commented on FMCSA’s statement, but has been calling for the agency to reform the system, saying there is fault with the data the FMCSA uses to compute CSA scores. An independent review team, GAO and Congress all found that CSA scores didn’t reflect the actual future crash risk and were a misleading portrayal of a carrier’s safety record, ATA says.