The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) took a major step toward improving commercial truck and bus safety with the launch of the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program.
The centerpiece of CSA is the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which will analyze all safety-based violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier's on-road performance. The new safety program will allow FMCSA to reach more carriers earlier and deploy a range of corrective interventions 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 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 and state law enforcement will be better equipped to identify carriers with patterns of high-risk behaviors and apply interventions that 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.
FMCSA will continue to conduct onsite comprehensive compliance reviews for carriers with safety issues across multiple BASICs. And, where a carrier has not taken the appropriate corrective action, FMCSA will invoke strong civil penalties.
To learn more about the new CSA program, visit http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/.