FMCSA Announces Changes to Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program

Kevin Anderson CSA 2010, Regulations, Transportation

Changes are afoot with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The most recent changes announced by the agency involve their Compliance, Safety, Accountability program (or CSA) and how they will deal with reporting crashes on a fleet’s record. These changes should address some concerns the industry has had over their program.

The purpose of the CSA is in its name, safety and accountability. As a result, when a crash is the fault of another, or if a company has not been in a crash in a long time, there is less emphasis on actual safety and accountability – particularly if the crash is the fault of another party. These proposed changes may go a long way helping the the industry and agency come to terms.

Two Year Program Over Crash Accountability

To address the strength of the accountability in CSA, the FMCSA announced a program that will give companies an avenue to contest which crashes are reported on CSA. For two years the FMCSA will test out a program that allows companies to challenge crashes where the driver was not at all responsible. The agency will open this proposal for public comment, and then implement it as a pilot program.

The main point of this proposal is to remove faultless crashes from the FMCSA’s Crash Indicator BASIC and improve a company’s rating. A company will have the chance to appeal a reported crash to the agency, and if the agency agrees the crash will be removed from BASIC. There are four instances where crashes will easily be removed:

  • when it is clear the motorist was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • when a trucker is hit by a driver headed in the wrong direction;
  • a crash from the rear where the car driver is at fault;
  • in the event the truck driver is legally stopped or parked.

This is the beginning to other types of crashes that will be easily eliminated. To many these changes are a long way coming, but they should do a lot to improve BASIC and CSA.

Three Crash Threshold

Another important proposal announced is changing the number of crashes that would require a measurement on the Safety Measurement System rankings. The number of crashes during a 24-month rolling period would change from two to three. Once the changes have taken place, the agency will study the results of the program to see whether it has been positive or negative.

Both changes would work hand in hand to develop more responsive and accountable safety measurement systems. Because the agency will study the effects of these new programs, neither will be considered permanent until proven effective. But whether either becomes permanent, it does show some flexibility by the agency to address industry concerns and make positive changes. And these changes could do a lot to improve safety and prevent inappropriate blame and unnecessarily damaging the reputations of safe drivers and companies.

Understanding Agency Regulations

Trucking companies face regulations and rules from every possible angle. There is the federal government, state, and local agencies who publish new rules every day that affect your bottom line. You need the right legal team in your corner that can help you navigate through these rules and regulations and take your company where you want to be. At Anderson and Yamada, P.C., we have decades of experience doing just that for trucking companies. Contact us today.