A 132-page report published by the National Academies of Science (NAS) last month highlights the analysis of the U.S. Department of Transportation CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) and calls for an overhaul of the ranking algorithm and how it identifies high-risk carriers.
The NAS report was initially ordered by Congress as part of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act highway bill. As part of that bill, Congress ordered that CSA scores no longer be available for public view. That data will remain unavailable until changes have been implemented.
Recommendations from the report include:
- Transparency into how scores are calculated
- Using an Item Response Theory model, which has worked well in both the healthcare and education industries for identifying poor performers
- Shifting away from relative metrics to assess safety risk and target carriers for additional inspections
If FMCSA ultimately decides to make the recommended changes, it would be beneficial for smaller carriers who have often seen challenges in scoring due to a lack of sufficient data when compared to larger carriers.
FMCSA has 120 days to review the report and provide a response detailing a corrective action plan to Congress. Then, Congress will have another 120 days to decide if it addresses all of the concerns detailed in the NAS report. It may be some time, but it looks like there are changes ahead for FMCSA regulations and CSA scores.