ARLINGTON, VA – In a white paper released on June 20, American Trucking Associations (ATA) urged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to remain committed to the goal of its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program: to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities.

"From the outset, ATA has supported the objectives of CSA to provide a means for FMCSA to more efficiently and effectively reduce truck crashes," ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. "However, unless FMCSA acknowledges certain limitations of the program and makes corresponding improvements, CSA will fall short of reaching its full potential."

In the paper, "Compliance, Safety, Accountability – Let's Not Make it an Ashtray," ATA Vice President of Safety Policy Rob Abbott wrote, FMCSA is touting the benefits of its program, even if they don't match the intended goal.

"According to the first paragraph of the CSA methodology, the goal of CSA is to implement more effective and efficient ways for FMCSA, its state partners, and the trucking industry to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes, fatalities, and injuries," Abbott wrote. "Logically, scores in each of the measurement categories should reliably identify carriers more likely to cause crashes. However, in some instances, they do not."

As a result, he said, FMCSA must guard against revising the goal of the program from identifying those carriers that are the crash-prone to highlighting the importance of regulatory compliance.

"It may be tempting for FMCSA to simply change the stated goal of CSA to match the output. Placing an emphasis on compliance is certainly important," Abbott concluded. "But in the end we should remember that CSA is about prioritizing carriers for intervention. Accordingly, most people would probably agree that the highest priority should be placed on identifying motor carriers and drivers that are causing crashes and changing their behavior."