Wednesday, August 31, 2011

FMCSA Releases Independent Evaluation of the CSA Op-Model Test

Attached is the long awaited University of Michigan study. From the Agency’s perspective, it validates its assumptions. Further reading and analysis will be necessary.

Moving Limbo Bars

When CSA 2010 / SMS Methodology was unveiled, the standard threshold for enforcement was set at the 65% for non-hazmat operations in the fatigued driving and unsafe driving BASICs.

Recent Examples of FMCSA Safety Audits with Due Process concerns

The following are recent examples of FMCSA safety audits with Due Process concerns:

Example 1.
A carrier in a northern state was cited for several violations during an audit.
But the issue that pushed the carrier into a Un-Satisfactory rating was an accident where one of its vehicle’s struck a deer at night. The deer’s antler punching a hole in the truck’s radiator. The carrier elected to have the vehicle towed to avoid engine damage resulting in a recordable accident.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Agency to Tackle Crash Preventability

Attached with approbation is Oliver Patton’s recent article in Heavy Duty Trucking. Therein, Mr. Patton discusses the FMCSA’s new proposal to determine crash preventability.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Q & A re: SMS Score

Q: We are a small expediter. Over 15% of our business is with a large broker whose safety threshold is 80% for “fatigued driving”. Our current SMS score is 88. We have 11 trucks and 18 drivers. We have recently been through a DOT focused audit which we passed. Based on my knowledge of how the scoring works, though, it will be at least October before our scores drop below the enforced threshold. This 3PL is one of our top five customers. What can we do?

Letter from J Melton Trucking

Letter from J Melton TruckingJ Melton


While a license to operate a commercial motor vehicle may be a qualified privilege, an adverse safety fitness determination, be it an “unsatisfactory,” “conditional” or under SMS methodology a “marginal” rating, has a direct effect on a motor carrier’s livelihood, jobs, and property.

Comment on the Current FMCSA Administration of Carrier Safety Worthiness

Comment on the Current FMCSA Administration of Carrier Safety Worthiness
By: Paul Stewart, Attorney at Law
August 17, 2011
Please allow me to preface my comments by mentioning my varied experience in the logistics industry. I was for twelve years outside counsel for an intermodal marketing company (IMC), as it grew to be one of the top five IMC’s in the country. Thereafter, for 17 years I was General Counsel for GST Corporation and NYK Logistics (Americas). I then did consulting for logistics companies, after which I was Chairman and CEO of 4 Elements, Inc., for three years, as it grew from start-up to a $40M logistics company, later to be sold to a much larger company. I have now returned to the private practice of law, focused upon transportation and logistics services, and offer my comments from the perspective of both a transportation lawyer and a business person who has dealt with the real world effects of well meaning, but entirely misdirected and harmful government action.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The FMCSA seems committed to replacing the existing safety fitness determination regulations with unproven SMS methodology. Seven months after public release of this grading system, the systemic flaws and adverse effect on competition and efficiency outweigh any proven safety benefit and threaten to heighten vicarious liability concerns in the shipper and broker community.