FMCSA updates bus, truck safety enforcement program

Posted on August 24, 2012

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced several new improvements to its Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) enforcement program that will enable it to more quickly identify and address high-risk truck and bus companies with compliance concerns.

“Good data plays a key role in keeping our nation’s roads safe,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These improvements will enable us to better identify and address unsafe truck and bus companies before tragedies occur.”

The final CSA changes will provide FMCSA with more precise information when assessing a company’s over-the-road safety performance. The changes will be implemented in December 2012 and include:

  • Changing the Cargo-Related BASIC (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category) to the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC to better identify HM safety and compliance problems. FMCSA’s analysis shows that this change will identify more carriers with HM concerns (33.8% versus 29.1%). Carriers and law enforcement can view this new BASIC in December. FMCSA will conduct further monitoring before it is made public.
  • Changing the Fatigued Driving BASIC to the more specific Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC to more accurately reflect violations in this area; and weighting HOS paper and electronic logbook violations equally.
  • Clarifying definition of passenger carrier companies by:
  1. Adding carriers that operate for-hire 9-15 passenger vehicles and 16-plus passenger vehicles.
  2. Removing carriers operating only 1-8 passenger vehicles and private carriers operating 1-15 passenger vehicles such as limousines, vans and taxis.
  • Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by including cargo/load securement violations from today's Cargo-Related BASIC.
  • Including intermodal equipment violations that should be found during drivers’ pre-trip inspections.
  • Removing 1 mph to 5 mph speeding violations to ensure citations are consistent with current speedometer regulations.
  • Ensuring all recorded violations accurately reflect the inspection type (i.e., only driver violations will be recorded under driver inspections).

“CSA is raising the bar for truck and bus safety. Our preliminary data shows that fatalities involving commercial vehicles dropped 4.7 percent last year compared to 2010,” said FMCSA Administrator Ferro. “Still, on average, nearly 4,000 people die in large truck and bus crashes each year. That is why we are implementing these important changes to make CSA even more effective.”

FMCSA provided a four-month preview period to ensure the public had multiple opportunities to review and comment on the proposed changes to CSA’s online Safety Measurement System. Overall, 14,000 carriers and 1,700 law enforcement personnel participated in the public preview. The Federal Register Notice issued responses to the comments received as of July 30, 2012, regarding the preview of the updates to the system.

The CSA enhancements are part of FMCSA’s continuous work to strengthen its safety enforcement tools. To support this effort and provide ongoing feedback, FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) will consider establishing a CSA subcommittee at its next meeting later this month.

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