FMCSA compliance and safety programs facing audit

WASHINGTON—The Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation, has launched an audit of the federal Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) and Safety Measurement System programs (SMS).

The CSA and SMS programs were adopted in 2010 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to “evaluate carrier performance information obtained from roadside inspections, crash reports, compliance reviews and other data,” wrote Assistant Inspector General Barry J. DeWeese in a memorandum announcing the audit.

The scores resulting from the programs were criticized for lack of validity in rating the safety practices of motor carriers. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 required FMCSA to request a study of the programs by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which issued recommendations in 2017 for improvements. The FAST Act also requires the DOT inspector general to analyze the resulting FMCSA proposal for modifying CSA and SMS programs.

“Accordingly, our audit objectives are to (1) assess the extent to which FMCSA’s corrective action plan addresses the NAS recommendations and relevant OIG and GAO (Government Accountability Office) recommendations; and (2) identify challenges FMCSA may face when implementing the corrective action plan,” DeWeese wrote.

The United Motorcoach Association lobbied Congress for the analysis and improvements to the programs and is supportive of the audit move.

“We are cautiously optimistic the corrective action plan will ultimately be fair to passenger carriers and more accurately predict those with a high propensity to have a crash,” said Ken Presley, vice president of industry relations and chief operating officer of UMA. “We are especially appreciative of Rep. Lou Barletta for introducing the legislation that set this process in motion.”

Barletta, R-Pa., is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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