FMCSA Puts “Absolute Measures” Data Back Online

On Monday, March 7, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) returned data to public view on motor carriers’ “absolute measures” on their Safety Measurement System (SMS) website. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which became law in December 2015, prohibited the FMCSA from displaying in public view internal analyses such as relative carrier percentiles and carrier crash risk. Additionally, the FAST Act required significant academic studies of the algorithms and data integrity of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative before any analyses or relative data is again placed in public view. These changes were the results of efforts by TIA and other industry stakeholders to raise awareness of the initiative’s flaws.

On December 4, the FMCSA removed all information from display, including the “absolute measures” data from public view to ensure compliance with the law. Now that the Agency has modified the website to ensure compliance, the “absolute measures” will again be available for public view. “Absolute measure” data is generated directly from safety data and is not based on any relative comparison to another motor carrier. The performance measure weighs a carrier’s violations and crashes by time and severity. This measure only considers a carrier’s individual performance on a scale of 0-100, with 0 indicating the best performance. This data will remain publically available while the Agency performs the deeper studies and implements the corrective actions to CSA which were required by Congress.

It has been and will remain TIA’s position that the safety rating is the sole determination of whether or not a carrier is safe to operate or not and that all CSA data and scores should be removed from public view in their entirety. The FMCSA is currently pursuing a Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rulemaking, which will use roadside inspection data and computer algorithms to determine whether a motor carrier is safe to operate. TIA and other interested industry associations requested an extension of the original 60-day comment period for this rulemaking, which was granted. The deadline for public comments is now May 23, 2016. TIA’s Highway Logistics Conference is currently preparing the comments that will be submitted on behalf of the association.