Audit of FMCSA Reveals that Federal CSA Regulation of Trucking Safety Is Still Lacking in Majority of USA


Audit of FMCSA Reveals that Federal CSA Regulation of Trucking Safety Is Still Lacking in Majority of USA

The Compliance, Safety, Accountability program (CSA) is far from a done deal, even though it was a hard-fought process to get CSA finalized and passed into law regulating commercial truck driving for the purpose of decreasing the risk and danger of fatal and deadly big rig semi tractor trailer and bus accidents in Indiana, Illinois, and all other states in the nation.

What is the CSA?

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is a federal program that is designed “…to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicles.” It changed the old Safestat safety rating system for the trucking industry.

Whereas prior to 2010, trucking companies were regulated by the federal government in four areas (Driver, Vehicle, Safety Management, and Accident) the new CSA regulatory system of commercial trucking expands regulatory areas to seven different targets: Unsafe Driving; Fatigued Driving; Driver Fitness; Controlled Substance and Alcohol; Vehicle Maintenance; Improper Loading/Cargo Securement; and Crash Indicator.

For more, read our past posts on this new legislation designed to increase the safety of American roadways from trucking accidents and fatal truck crashes including:

OIG Audit of CSA Implementation by FMCSA

In a report released last week from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation (read the full report here), the Inspector General has found that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) still has not completed CSA’s bus and truck ratings system under CSA 2010. The Inspector General had the job of auditing the CSA Program for both its data quality and enforcement functions as ordered by Congress.

Now that the OIG’s report has been released, we know that 40 states have yet to become fully operational and FMCSA has some work to do in order to get CSA fully operational.

What does this mean?

Everyone on the expressways around here as well as driving alongside big rigs, semis, tractor trailers, motorcoach buses, and other big commercial trucks needs to be aware that dangers still exist by being on the road at high speeds next to these heavy machines with truck drivers who may be compromised due to lack of sleep or drugs or distractions.

Those in the trucking industry as well as industry watchdogs and those involved in trucking accident claims (including plaintiffs’ lawyers like our firm) are well aware that even though CSA has been passed into law there are still miles to go before FMCSA is fully and accurately evaluating trucking companies under the CSA standards for safety and accountability.

In its audit of the implementation of CSA by FMCSA, the Inspector General has found:

  • Inadequate training and software support has prevented 40 states and the District of Columbia from conducting CSA enforcement interventions on high-risk carriers
  • Failure to improve the consistency of carrier-reported data and state-issued corrections on inaccurate information
  • Not following industry best practices and federal guidance for testing and documenting changes to the system’s rating methodology
  • Only about 401,000 of the roughly 803,000 active interstate carriers updated their data as required, which can interfere with accurate calculations of carriers’ safety performance
  • FMCSA has not fully implemented the CSA enforcement intervention process nationwide
  • Only 10 States fully implemented CSA enforcement interventions at the time of the OIG report
  • FMCSA cannot provide a date when it expects to complete implementation at all States

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