U.S. Safety Plan Targets High Risk Truckers

December 15, 2010

Truck and bus companies that data show are high risk will be targeted under an Obama Administration transportation program intended to improve safety on the roads.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is launching the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program. The centerpiece of CSA is the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which analyzes all safety-based violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier’s on-road performance.

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 said officials will be better equipped to identify carriers with patterns of high-risk behaviors and 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. The program should allow FMCSA 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 will also provide the public with safety data in a more user-friendly format, hopefully giving consumers a better picture of those carriers that pose a safety risk.

CSA was tested in nine states before it 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.

FMCSA said it will continue to conduct onsite comprehensive compliance reviews for carriers with safety issues across multiple BASICs. Also, where a carrier has not taken the appropriate corrective action, FMCSA said it will invoke civil penalties.

Source: FMSCA

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