One year later, CSA still lacks key provisions

It is hard to believe that it’s been a year since we started publishing CSA scores in CarrierWatch. Before last year’s CSA launch, the whole industry was discussing the new safety program and wondering how it would affect fundamental aspects of our business.

TransCore jumped into the discussion early on, with our own CSA report . As 2011 draws to a close, we’ve seen three additional critiques, one from the Federal government, one from a university and a third from an investment bank. Each of those reports covers new aspects of CSA, and all three discuss gaps that still remain in the program’s implementation.

1. GAO – In September the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on CSA, stating that “several steps and issues remain before FMCSA can fully implement CSA carrier oversight activities.” Among those are completing technical work and training on interventions, issuing a rulemaking on the Safety Fitness Determinations (SFD) and addressing staffing issues.

2. UMTRI – I blogged about the UMTRI report in October. It concluded that more carriers were inspected than under SafeStat but inconsistencies in reporting by states could result in some carriers being penalized unfairly.

3. Wells Fargo – Finally, in December Wells Fargo reported that it found “no meaningful statistical relationship between a carrier’s actual accident incidence and the BASIC scores for Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving or Driver Fitness.”

Maybe most importantly, the FMCSA did not issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to CSA’s Safety Fitness Determination. So despite the program being a year old, we’re still using the same methods when it comes to the most important aspect of the program: suspending unfit carriers. It is now looking like 2013–or later–before we will see carriers assigned Safety Fitness Determinations based on their CSA performance. The issues raised by these reports will certainly affect the speediness of that process as well.

However, CSA is still very much a part of the landscape for carriers, brokers and shippers, despite not being a fully implemented program. My hunch is many companies are starting to adjust, even if those changes are not always reported.

How have things changed for you in the year since the program launched? Have you managed your safety program differently? Has your insurance agent mentioned CSA? Are you doing your carrier due diligence differently? I would be curious to get some individual perspectives.