Last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, better known as CSA. This program gives us a clearer safety picture of commercial carriers and allows FMCSA and carriers to take action before safety problems occur.
If you're not a trucking insider, the first thing you should know is that CSA improves our ability to identify unsafe commercial truck and bus companies. The new system also allows us to identify safety risks earlier. And, once we've identified a carrier with risk patterns, we can work with the carrier to reduce those risks and improve road safety for everyone.
At the heart of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program is the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which collects safety data from inspections and crash reports then weighs the severity of violations within seven different categories. These seven categories cover a range of important safety factors: unsafe driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness, controlled substances/alcohol, vehicle maintenance, cargo, and crash involvement.
Together, these calculations give us a pretty good safety profile of our nation's motor carriers. And the more we learn, the faster and more effectively we can act to make our roads safer.
The aspect of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program that gives me greatest confidence is its transparency. The data and calculations used by the Safety Measurement System are public. So if there are problems or errors, carriers and drivers can request a review.
Plus, carriers know their safety profiles are available for all to see. Because consumers and logistics managers can view the SMS, carriers have a powerful market incentive to comply with safety rules.
Before the Department of Transportation launched CSA, we ran pilot programs in nine different states. We made data available for carriers months in advance. We received feedback from industry members, law enforcement agencies, and safety experts.
And we used that feedback to make CSA even better. As FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said, "We worked closely with our partners in the motor vehicle community to develop this powerful new program."
For the protection of commercial drivers, their cargo, and everyone on our nation's roadways, we are trying to keep carriers in the business of operating safely. CSA gives us a terrific new tool to do just that.