If you’ve been following the recent stories about testimony on the effectiveness of the CSA Safety program, you know that the FMCSA has taken some heat for including and equally weighting all crashes, including non-preventable crashes, in the CSA Crash BASIC scores.
Well, the FMCSA has just announced that they are undertaking a new national study to see if they can use each state’s Police Accident Report (PAR) as a credible and reliable way to streamline accountability/fault determination in motor carrier crashes. I hope this effort to include crash accountability will be successful as lack of crash accountability has been a near constant criticism of the program since its inception. The full FMCSA announcement follows:
Subject: CSA’s New Crash Weighting Research Plan
FMCSA’s top priority is safety. Over the past two years, the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program has been working successfully to make the Nation’s roads safer. CSA aims to identify motor carrier safety problems earlier through better use of data, with the end goal of reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
As part of this commitment to safety, FMCSA continually identifies ways to advance the efficiency and effectiveness of its safety programs, including CSA. In this spirit FMCSA is announcing a focused initiative to analyze a process for updating the 100,000 annual State-reported crash records to include a determination of a motor carrier’s role in a crash.
Today, the crash reports submitted by the States do not include a determination of whether the motor carrier is responsible for causing the crash. Analysis shows that the current process of including all crashes a motor carrier is involved in is a good predictor of future crash risk.
That said, the agency recognizes that additional crash data might further sharpen the ability of the SMS to identify carriers that pose the highest risk. Therefore the agency is conducting a comprehensive analysis which includes the below key steps:
- A broad study of PARs across the Nation will attempt to determine whether they provide sufficient, consistent, and reliable information that can be used to determine the carrier’s role in a given crash and what other information, including input from other entities in the outcome of a crash determination, should be used to supplement PARs for maximum reliability.
- FMCSA will conduct analysis to determine if the carrier’s role in a given crash is a better indicator of future crash risk. If so, the analysis will determine the impact of weighting crashes differently in SMS.
- Throughout this analysis, research will also be reviewed from similar programs in other countries (e.g., Canada) to understand their analysis, processes, and applicability to SMS.
The executive summary of FMCSA’s Crash Weighting Research Plan is posted on the CSA website
The results of this study will be available in the summer of 2013. Based on the results, FMCSA will develop the Agency’s plan forward for determining a carrier’s role in a crash and the potential use of this new information in the Agency’s safety programs– including SMS.
FMCSA is committed to continually improving SMS, in a thoughtful, methodical and transparent manner, to ensure that it continues to aid in carrying out FMCSA’s critical safety mission.
CSA Web Team
U.S. DOT/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration