CSA/SMS Methodology Proposed Changes | Apex Capital Blog

CSA/SMS Methodology Proposed Changes Continue to Lack Accountability

by Apex Capital | May 21, 2012

After years of development, FMCSA’s current CSA/SMS rating methodology has proposed changes available for review at CSA’s website. These modifications may be a step in the right direction, but continue to overlook crucial elements such as crash accountability. SMS scores are already impacting professionals in the transportation industry, especially those involved collisions, regardless of fault.

The current proposed changes include ratings addressing cargo/load securement, and more accurately identifying Hazardous Materials loads, carriers and violations. Changes attempt to align SMS scores with existing Intermodal Equipment Provider and Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance regulations. New regulations would delineate between vehicle or driver violations, identify carriers transporting passengers and expand upon current terms such as “inconclusive” and “insufficient data.” The proposed changes would also differentiate between crashes with injuries and fatalities.

A Lack of Accountability

A major oversight of the scoring system lies in the absence of assigning crash accountability. Any documented collision reduces a carrier’s safety score, possibly taking them off the road, regardless of driver responsibility. As of May 2012, FMCSA has suspended any effort towards reviewing crashes for fault or providing collision details or police accident reports along with the score to designate crash accountability.

Apex’s concerns regarding the negative impact of CSA/SMS scores under the current scoring model are shared by other trade professionals who are actively working to address these issues. By working with the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation (ASECTT), the American Transportation Research Institute and transportation lawyer, Henry Seaton, Apex strives to protect and educate professionals in the industry.

To review the proposed changes and provide feedback log into http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/. The changes will be up for review until Tuesday, May 29th 2012. Please take the opportunity to review your ratings and comment regarding the proposed changes.

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