American Trucking Associations (ATA) has issued a white paper on the reliability of scores from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program in evaluating the safety of individual trucking companies.
“ATA continues to support the objectives of CSA and to call for improvements to the program,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “However, data and methodology problems continue to plague the system and the accuracy and reliability of companies’ scores.”
In its paper, ATA examined data and research on the connection between CSA scores and crash risk, as well as how problems with the data and methodology produce an imperfect and unreliable measure of a carrier’s safety record.
“It may make sense for FMCSA to use scores in those categories that correlate positively with crash risk to prioritize companies for enforcement review,” Graves said. “In the process, FMCSA can verify whether or not the scores paint an accurate picture. But third parties need to know that for the purposes of drawing conclusions about individual carriers, the scores are unreliable.”
According to research cited by ATA, scores in at least three of the system’s measurement categories don’t bear a positive correlation to crash risk. Even in those categories that generally have a positive correlation to crash risk, the paper points out that there are tens of thousands of real-world “exceptions,” carriers with high scores and low crash rates and vice-versa.