The investigation report of the Department of Transportation's Inspector General is just the latest to show significant problems with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, American Trucking Associations said.
"The Inspector General's report confirms what industry stakeholders, independent researchers and other government watchdogs have found: there continue to be significant flaws in the data FMCSA is using to evaluate and score carriers under CSA," said ATA Executive Vice President Dave Osiecki. "ATA continues to support the oversight mission and safety goals of CSA – but FMCSA must acknowledge the program's many problems – and commit to addressing them."
The Inspector General's report criticized FMCSA for: taking "limited action" to address previously identified flaws; its inability to get 40 states and the District of Columbia to implement CSA interventions; not following standard technology validation and testing; and for not pushing states to be consistent in correcting reams of inaccurate data.
"The audit found that while FMCSA claims to have enough data to evaluate 40% of the industry – 13% of those companies report not owning or operating any trucks. Serious inaccuracies like this affect the scores of everyone scored under CSA – since carriers are compared to one another," Osiecki said. "Though not 'safety data' per se, the I.G. also found that many motor carriers need to do a better job of reporting operational and exposure data, such as the number of trucks they operate."
ATA expressed disappointment in the IG's report for taking FMCSA's self-assessment of its State Safety Data Quality system, which scores states' ability to upload timely and accurate data, at face value.
"ATA is disappointed that the I.G. didn't take a critical look at the source of literally all CSA data, state enforcement agencies. While the SSDQ indicates states are performing better than they have in the past, the I.G. failed to examine under what circumstances a state might obtain a "good" rating. This is a critical link in CSA data quality that deserves greater attention."
ATA's document explaining the limitations of SSDQ ratings is available here.
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