Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chairman Graves Letter to FMCSA

The Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, Representative Sam Graves of Missouri, wrote a blistering letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro summarizing issues raised at the committee's July 11 hearing on Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA). ASECTT has been intimately involved with this committee and first raised the CSA issue to the committee several months ago. The coalition's own Hank Seaton provided copious materials and background information, even briefing the staff of committee members the week of the hearing.  

Basically affirming what ASECTT has contended for nearly two years now, Graves challenges the data quality and SMS methodology itself, particularly as it relates to smaller carriers. He mentions the Wells Fargo and Gimpel studies showing no correlation between SMS scores and individual carrier accident frequency. He questions the inclusion of accidents that are not the fault of the carrier.

He also takes the Agency to task for sending mixed and confusing messages to shipper and brokers by encouraging them to utilize SMS while the system is actively being modified, has not been subjected to the rulemaking process, and conflicts with the existing safety fitness rating system. Representative Graves writes that “… the agency should not preempt that rulemaking by suggesting that shippers, brokers, and carriers use BASICs scores for carrier selection.”  ASECTT adds a hearty "amen!". Graves demands a response by September 28. It is tremendous to see this level of congressional interest in reigning in over burdensome and misguided regulatory activity in our industry.  Congressional oversight of this runaway Agency and de facto regulatory regime has been lacking.  It's not too much to say that this and the upcoming Transportation & Infrastructure Committee hearings would not be happening were it not for ASECTT's sustained efforts.

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