The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability program is designed to ensure that truck operators in North Carolina and around the country properly maintain and repair their vehicles, but the system used to calculate safety scores has been criticized. Trade groups accused the FMCSA of using incomplete data and misleading the public, and Congress answered their calls in 2015 by requiring the government safety watchdog to revise its CSA rules with the passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.
The FMCSA quickly responded to lawmakers by releasing a set of proposals to reform the CSA program, but a report published on July 4 suggests that the agency has now chosen to take a different approach. The report indicates that the FMCSA was swayed by calls from the National Academies of Science to base the CSA program on item response theory methods, which are more rigorous and better at dealing with variables.
The FMCSA is also said to be considering an absolute scoring component so that logistics companies can be assessed using only their data as well as by comparing them to other carriers. The goals of the NAS and FMCSA revisions are to develop a more comprehensive and fairer safety scoring system, improve the quality of the information used to assess carriers and deliver the data in way that members of the public and carriers can understand.
Personal injury attorneys with experience in commercial truck accident lawsuits would likely support the FMCSA’s efforts to improve road safety by revising its CSA program. Poorly maintained semi-tractor trailers are a potentially deadly road hazard, and logistics companies may be ordered to pay punitive as well as compensatory damages to truck accident victims when records reveal that they knew about dangerous conditions and failed to take any action.