More and more groups are voicing their concerns and frustrations with the FMCSA and the direction of CSA.

The ATA has repeatedly asked for modifications to the methodology that even the FMCSA agrees could be flawed.  They also want CSA to be focused on Safety and not compliance alone.

External studies done by Wells Fargo and ASCETT bring into doubt the validity of the FMCSA’s premise that high BASIC percentile scores correlate to high crashes.

“…we have come to believe that the composite BASICs scores do NOT provide us with a true depiction of a carrier’s safety. Specifically, we did not find that composite scores were indicative of either accidents or injuries/fatalities.  Moreover, we found some of the data to be misleading.”

This is an excerpt from the study done by Wells Fargo Securities.

“…the way the SMS BASICs Unsafe Driving and Fatigued Driving are captured and calculated and interpreted by the FMCSA does not show any correlation to crashes.”

This is an excerpt from the study done by ASCETT.

Many fleets have seen negative reactions by shippers, brokers, and insurers to high BASIC scores.  Though a minority of shippers and brokers are choosing to ignore SMS scores and make determinations based on their own internal models.  But most are using a combination of CSA, Carrier Safety Ratings, and internal investigations to determine the safety of the carriers they are using.

However, this method may have to be thrown out the window as the FMCSA has modified how they want “private industry” to use the safety data they provide.  Though they have always maintained that the SMS BASICs are for internal use by the FMCSA for identification purposes, the industry has interpreted the Carrier Safety Ratings to be true determinations of a carrier’s safety and authorization to continue business.   The FMCSA has recently indicated that the Carrier Safety Ratings are not true indicators of “safety.”  And that they recommend that shippers and brokers use their own discretion when choosing a trucking company to place a load with.

Does this mean that the FMCSA is aware that the parameters they have set for monitoring fleet safety performance is terribly flawed?  And that they don’t want to be asked to justify these scores and the methodology behind them in a court of law?  Because now if a carrier with a “Satisfactory” Safety Rating and low BASIC scores gets into a crash, the FMCSA can step away and say, “hey, these are just ratings to help determine if a carrier is fit to operate at the time of the rating.  They are not determinations of the safety of a carrier.”