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EFFORTS TO EMPHASIZE ACCOUNTABILITY IN CSA SCORES ARE PUT IN PARK

On behalf of Israel & Gerity, PLLC posted in Motor Vehicle Safety on Friday, April 6, 2012.

In an effort to improve safety in the trucking industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) began using a new compliance program in 2010 - Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA). The CSA program is intended to lower the number of trucking accidents and resulting injuries and deaths by allowing the FMCSA and other authorities to address safety issues before accidents occur.

One way that CSA is intended to improve safety is by utilizing accident statistics to identify truckers or trucking companies which may be experiencing performance issues, including issues that may increase the risk of truck accidents. This data is then used to determine a CSA score. However, many within the trucking industry have taken issue with this measurement, as the CSA takes into account data which details accidents in which the driver is at-fault, as well as accidents in which the driver is not at-fault.

To address the concern that accidents in which the truck driver is not at-fault are included in the CSA score (higher CSA scores can lead to enforcement action by the FMCSA), the FMSCA was considering allowing trucking companies to get an assessment of fault in the accidents considered by the CSA scores.

Problems with the Plan

The FMCSA put the plan in park when concerns were raised about how the assessments were going to be conducted. Accountability elements in the assessments are going to consider the police report and the statement of the trucking company. Anne Ferro of the FMCSA acknowledged that other interested parties were not allowed a say in the assessment, including witnesses, victims and insurance companies.

While the CSA scores will continue to include information from all accidents, including accidents in which the truck driver is not determined to be at-fault, the use of the CSA score is an important step in improving the safety of all on the road.

According to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2008 there were 4,229 accidents involving large trucks which resulted in a fatality, of those killed, 77 percent were occupants of the other vehicles involved in the accident. Further, there were another 90,000 accidents in the same year which resulted in injuries, of those injured, 71 percent were occupants of the other vehicles involved in the accident.

Some in the trucking industry may scoff at the data used to determine safety scores, but those numbers are not only calculated for truckers' safety, the numbers are calculated for everyone's safety.

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