More About Crash Accountability | Apex Capital Trucking Blog

Crash Accountability | Beyond Employability and CSA Scores

by Apex Capital | June 20, 2012

Beyond Employability and CSA Scores

Controversial Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) methodology and proposed changes are under examination and for good reason. The intent of the scoring system is debatable and modifications continue to overlook crucial elements such as crash accountability which is already impacting professionals in the transportation industry regardless of fault. Due to insufficient FMCSA action the impact of a collision on a good driver’s record can hinder their employability. Unfortunately the same wreck that can put them out of work can be even more detrimental to these drivers’ personal lives.

Two major oversights of CSA/SMS are the lack of supporting evidence for the ratings and deficient crash accountability. The FMCSA has been asked multiple times by the American Trucking Association (ATA) and other agencies to provide documentation of the links between violations and crash risk used to validate their ratings. Any documented collision reduces a carrier’s safety score, possibly taking them off the road, regardless of driver responsibility. In May 2012, FMCSA suspended any effort towards reviewing crashes for fault or providing collision details or police reports along with the score to designate crash accountability.

An article in the May 2012 edition of Land Line entitled, “Why me? I was a good driver,” reflects the impact fatal accidents may have on driver’s personal and emotional wellbeing. Sadly, and regardless of fault, these drivers have a fatality on their record. While their CSA score misrepresents the event, it’s not their ability to get a job that is heartbreaking; it’s their capacity to heal from a “festering gut wound” incurred at that tragic moment in life. Truck drivers who have suffered the impacts of a fatal accident are commonly treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder common in war veterans. They carry the sadness of the loss of life, even if the only thing they could have done different at that moment was, “not be there.”

Apex Capital Supports ASECTT

In order to protect carriers from unfair ratings and undue stress, Apex is supporting the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation, (ASECTT). One of ASECTT’s primary goals is to eliminate the use of the FMCSA’s SMS methodology to unfairly rate motor carriers. Apex’s concerns regarding the negative impact of CSA/SMS scores under the current model are shared by other trade professionals who are actively working to address these issues. By working with the ASECTT, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and transportation lawyer, Henry Seaton, Apex strives to protect and educate professionals in the industry. To support efforts to bring necessary change to CSA/SMS, starting with removal of SMS scores from the FMCSA web site, please visit ASECTT.

ATRI, the research arm of the American Trucking Association, has requested motor carriers respond to its survey on the impact of CSA/SMS Methodology. If CSA/SMS Scores have impacted your trucking operations or unfairly impacted your access to freight or customers, it is important that you respond online. It would be helpful to the cause if you would ask your members and constituents to participate in this survey. The ATA is only beginning to recognize the adverse impact of SMS methodology and additional comments by constituent holders would be helpful. Right now is your chance to weigh in on the impact of CSA/SMS Methodology.

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