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Week of March 19, 2012
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FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro has announced huge changes to the CSA Compliance Monitoring System, including dropping the controversial Cargo Related BASIC.
Speaking at this year’s Mid America Trucking Show, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro announced huge changes to the CSA System. By far the biggest change, the controversial Cargo Related BASIC will be dropped and replaced by a Hazmat BASIC and a beefed up Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. FMCSA will also work to make the CSA system fairer by refining the inspections that can be included in a CSA report.
Ferro did disappoint industry figures, however, that had expected a further refinement to the system, citing problems with police reports FMCSA is delaying changes to the Crash Indicator.
Goodbye Cargo Related BASIC
The Cargo Related BASIC had been troubled from birth. Before CSA was even launched, industry pressure forced FMCSA to give it a ‘second-class citizenship’, making it available only to auditors and the carriers themselves and hiding it from public view.
“We held back because we weren’t altogether confident in its clear association with [the safety] outcome,” Ferro said. “So we have shifted many of the cargo to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and we’re going to have a standalone Hazmat BASIC.”
During the CSA implementation process, the Cargo Related BASIC underwent several rewrites. The industry view was that the scores used for each violation were overly high and that the BASIC unfairly focused on certain industry segments. The BASIC’s percentiles and Alert status were made private just before launch but the BASIC never regained industry support. Critics often cited that fact that the unnaturally high scores could potentially scare off brokers and other customers, thereby unfairly costing the carrier work.
Included Inspections Revised
Another major change, one that is likely to be welcomed by the industry is that FMCSA will be refining the reports being put into the CSA system. Currently, the CSA report includes violations from inspections that shouldn’t have covered the area of the regulations that the violations was in.
For example, currently, if you are pulled over for a vehicle-only inspection (Level V) and yet are cited for a driver violation that is included in your CSA scores. Conversely, if you are undergoing a driver only inspection (Level III) and you are cited for a vehicle violation that is also included in your CSA scores.
Under the revisions announced at MATS, FMCSA will now be dropping that data from CSA reports. A Level V inspection will now only result in vehicle violations and a Level III inspection will now only result in driver violations.
Motor Carriers will get a preview of the new system next week. As with the initial roll out of the CSA system, there will be an extended preview period before the new system goes ‘live’.
Depending on the public comments it receives during the preview period, FMCSA hopes to have the new system fully online before the end of July.
Not Changing Yet
It wasn’t all good news however; Ferro announced that FMCSA would actually be walking back from some previously announced changes.
One of the most hotly contested features of the CSA system is that FMCSA counts all crashes, including the ones the carrier could not avoid, against the carrier when calculating the Crash Indicator BASIC.
Industry insiders had previously been pleased to hear that that was going to change; however, Ferro disappointed them by announcing that the fix was delayed indefinitely.
Ferro claimed that the Agency had received complaints that the police reports FMCSA planned to use to determine fault might not be accurate. The change had been advertised as coming in February or March; now it has no expected release date. Ferro said that the criticism had come from Public Interest Groups although she didn’t specify exactly who objected to the use of the reports.
Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 730 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011