The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently launched a new trucking safety initiative called the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.
The heart of this program is a Safety Measurement System (SMS) that will analyze violations from inspections and crash data. Through these calculations, the FMCSA will be able to identify carriers with a pattern of unsafe practices, and intervene to correct safety violations before they result in catastrophic injuries or deaths.
The new SMS assesses 7 safety improvement categories, called BASICs. The categories are:
- unsafe driving
- fatigued driving
- driver fitness
- substance/alcohol abuse
- vehicle maintenance
- crash indicators
Examining data category-by-category can shed light on repeat patterns of unsafe trucking practices.
Companies exhibiting high-risk behavior will be notified and provided with opportunities to correct safety violations before they compound into major issues. The FMCSA and state law enforcement will utilize a variety of tools including warning letters, roadside inspections and compliance reviews. If early warnings are not heeded by the carrier companies, the administration can apply costly fines & penalties.
A final advantage of the CSA is that, in keeping with the Obama administration’s open government initiative, it provides the public with improved access to safety data.
As an experienced truck accident lawyer, I commend the FMCSA for focusing on early intervention. Rogue trucking companies routinely ignore important safety requirements year after year, making the roads less safe for all of us. The new FMCSA processes will raise the bar for safe trucking practices, and make it easier for authorities to find unsafe companies and bring them into compliance.