FMCSA Uses Violation Statistics to Improve Highway Safety

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been evaluating safety performances since 2010 based on documented violations resulting from records of roadside inspections and crash statistics. This information is categorized into seven Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories referred to as BASICs. The records are then given statistical significance based on severity and age. This analytical process is designed to develop a Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score which is monitored via the agency’s Safety Measurement System.

There is much opposition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s development of the CSA score. Many opponents contend that the score does not precisely convey the safety of fleets due to primarily focusing on violations with little attention to the number of positive roadside inspections conducted.

Historically, CSA scores were available for public viewing however a provision to the highway bill has recently been petitioned in 2015 which enforced the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to eliminate the scores from the public. The administration must appoint a Transportation Research Board study to determine the accuracy of the agency’s ability to forecast potential driving accident risks and severity. The administration must present documentation from the study to Congress within 18 months to be reviewed for any deficits.

It is important to acknowledge that although the CSA scores have temporarily been removed from public display, the statistical information for obtaining records regarding roadside inspections and crash documentation continue to remain public records. It is suggested that maintaining these records publicly allows law enforcement to better organize and implement safety actions.

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