The American Bus Association supports the findings made by the National Academy of Sciences in their Congressionally mandated report titled “Improving Motor Carrier Safety Measurement.” The report details how the U.S. DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should overhaul its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) carrier rating system to make it more fair and accurate in its assessment of motor carriers’ safety risk.
"We agree with many of the findings of this long-awaited report," said Peter Pantuso, CTIS, president & CEO of ABA. "This (CSA) program as a whole is a valuable tool, but as we have repeatedly noted, one in need of improvement."
The study, required by the FAST Act, evaluates the Safety Measurement System (SMS) that FMCSA uses to pick out motor carriers, both passenger and property carriers, it judges as at greater risk of being involved in crashes. ABA has long believed the current system uses a flawed methodology because it doesn't take into consideration when an accident is not the driver's fault, compare like carrier operations (i.e. buses to buses), or what a company has done to enhance its safety.
According to the report, the NAS found the current SMS implementation defensible, being fair and not overtly biased against various types of carriers, to the extent data from [the Motor Carrier Management Information System] can be used for this purpose. That information system is a collection of data from crashes, inspections and other sources.
However, NAS also affirms ABA’s position that elements of the SMS can be improved upon, as much of what is now done is “ad hoc and based on subject-matter expertise that has not been sufficiently empirically validated," according to the panel. The FMCSA now has 120-days to develop a corrective action plan to address the recommendations made in the report, and implementation of the plan will be overseen by both the U.S. DOT Inspector General and Congress.
"We believe the panel's recommendations to improve the implementation of the SMS and quality of the data, is the correct way to move forward," Pantuso said. "We welcome the opportunity to work with the FMCSA as they develop steps to address the identified deficiencies and improve safety."