Turn Signals – Issue 70

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has taken its first steps to begin its revision of the methodology of evaluating motor carriers in the seven CSA Basics. The agency announced it is canceling the CSA “enhancements” it proposed in 2015. These included lowering the Alert threshold in Vehicle Maintenance from 80 to 75, and increasing the Alert Thresholds from 80 to 90 for Hazmat Compliance, Driver Fitness, and Controlled Substances & Alcohol. Also, the Hazmat Basic was to be segmented into two carrier groups on whether they used cargo tank equipment, with the underlying safety data being made public. All proposed changes are out the window.

Why and what’s next are the obvious questions. A 2017 analysis by the National Academy of Sciences recommended that FMCSA adopt a new statistical modeling called Item Response Theory for the agency’s Safety Measurement System. IRT is complex. The easiest analogy is IRT can address not just how many answers one got right on a test but what is the importance of each question. The NSA report suggested that perhaps FMCSA should look at other ‘big data’. such as how trucking companies pay drivers, driver turnover, weather, and time of day, to be analytic elements in identifying high-risk carriers for future accidents. FMCSA recently announced that it will use an IRT model for its future safety analysis of truckers. It expects to conduct a small-scale test in September this year, a full-scale test next April, and an evaluation of that test two months later. The agency says it hopes to implement a final action plan in 2 years, which would include funding a standing committee of NSA experts to oversee the process. One can expect there will be abundant criticism from the trucking community wen a final plan is unveiled.

FMCSA will ask the Office of Management and Budget to approve a study on how vehicle maintenance requirements affect motor carriers’ overall safety performance. The agency wants to better define the requirement for companies to “systematically inspect, repair, and maintain” its vehicles. FMCSA’s goal is to adopt more precise regulations for minimum intervals between preventative maintenance inspections, mechanic qualifications and training, and certification of maintenance facilities. The plan is to conduct voluntary surveys of different-sized trucking companies with varying safety records in order to ascertain relationships between maintenance procedures and crashes.

FMCSA denied a petition to exempt small carriers with no at-fault crashes from the ELD mandate. The filing was made in November by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. While FMCSA has confirmed its denial, it has not yet released its decision or the underlying reasons. A small trucking company is defined by the Small Business Administration as having $27.5 million or less in annual revenues.

Did you know…. FMCSA promises to keep updating a webpage “infographic” which shows how hours-of-service violations are decreasing since the ELD mandate began. The graphic now shows a 46% decrease since last December for highway inspections with one or more logging violations. To find the webpage, google “FMCSA ELD Infographic”.

Published by Nicholas Wingerter and TRUCK SAFETY
©2018 All Rights Reserved – Published on this site with their permission.