Friday, March 15, 2013

ASECTT Newsletter March 15, 2013

ASECTT Newsletter
March 15, 2013
1.         ASECTT et al. v. FMCSA
All briefs have been filed and we are awaiting scheduling of oral argument.  To view copies of these pleadings, see

2.         Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and Parker Committee Update.  

The FMCSA has made additional appointments to its handpicked Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Parker subcommittee considering SMS methodology. The new appointees consist primarily of safety advocate groups, a union representative and law enforcement.  While Schneider and the TIA were added, affected small business nominees were ignored.  A report from the Parker Committee critical of SMS methodology, particularly the inclusion of non-preventable accidents in the crash BASIC is predicted in the coming months.  The agency has again signaled that it is not prepared to submit SMS methodology for rulemaking and the earliest possible date for submission is now January of 2014.

3.         Ferro Speaks to House Subcommittee.

The following link contains the agency’s summary of Administrator Ferro’s testimony to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure concerning various aspects of MAP-21, including implementation of SMS methodology.  Emphasizing that “Safety is the FMCSA’s number one priority,” the agency claims that the agency has realized great success in reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities, noting it has “developed a Strategic Plan” to raise the bar to enter the motor carrier industry and maintain high safety standards to remain in the industry.

Touting CSA as a “compliance model to improve safety and ultimately … reduce large truck and bus crashes” the agency claims CSA is an operational success “developed with an unprecedented level of stakeholder input, analysis, and planning” and that “recently implemented enhancements to the Safety Measurement System (SMS)” reflect input collected from the comments of more than 19,000 carriers and 2,900 law enforcement personnel.

It is not surprising, but no mention was made of the lawsuit, publication of SMS methodology for shipper and broker use, or opposition to the agency’s use of Internet guidance to leverage the public as the enforcers of SMS methodology.

4.         Overdrive Magazine Concludes Inconsistent Enforcement is Picking on the Little Guys and Owner-Operator Fleets. 

Although the FMCSA concludes the system is not biased against any carriers, the March 14 edition of Overdrive concludes that an owner-operator’s truck is four times as likely to get inspected as a truck operating under the authority of a 500 unit fleet.  

Importantly, the article further notes that two years after its advent, CSA has still failed to produce a single public score for 80% of the carriers with operating authority.

After referencing our pending lawsuit, the article notes that “The agency denies CSA / SMS constitutes a safety rating and washes its hands of how the data is treated in the real world.” When asked, the agency spokesman did not address the May 16th guidance but instead stated, “SMS quantifies the on-road safety performance of motor carriers so that FMCSA can prioritize them for intervention.”  Further, “Use of the SMS for purposes other than those identified may produce unintended results and inaccurate conclusions.”

This article is a recommended read.  

5.         GAO and IG Studies

As a result of the Small Business Committee and T&I subcommittee hearings in which we played a large role, both the DOT’s Inspector General and the General Accounting Office are conducting investigations of SMS methodology and CSA.  ASECTT will be advising its members on the best way to make their concerns and comments known to these important investigators.

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