On November 29, 2010, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, The Expedite Alliance of North America, and the Air & Expedited Motor Carriers Association filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals to put a hold on the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 initiative. They want to prohibit the public release of CSA data until the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) meets certain requirements.
The groups want the FMCSA to make disclosures to the industry explaining their proposed rule including:
1) The algorithms and other formulas the agency plans to use in developing carriers' Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) grades and classifications
2) The sample populations used in developing the percentiles and other criteria the agency will utilize in grading carriers as to safety
3) The procedures the agency will use, if any, to determine that alleged violations are reported accurately.
The FMCSA plans to make data and metrics, including BASICs information, available to the public as early as December 5, 2010. The groups opposing the initiative say that releasing BASICs to the public "will result in irreparable competitive and economic harm to motor carriers and freight brokers". They want to delay CSA 2010 until the FMCSA has come up with a safety monitoring and enforcement program that is fair.
The groups have concerns about many things surrounding the public release of BASICs info.
1) It will produce a threat of vicarious liability to brokers and shippers for alleged negligent selection of a motor carrier. "This threat will become immediate whenever a carrier used by such customers has an accident while handling their freight, and then turns out to have less than perfect BASIC scores," the groups said.
2) "The data has not been demonstrated to be reliable. Concerns over data quality include the difficulty in correcting flawed and misleading data. Although there is a DataQ mechanism for seeking corrections, the process is unsatisfactory and corrections are at the discretion of States where reported violations allegedly occurred." The group also says that data reliability problems created by the prejudicial effect of reporting anomalies on entities with small samplings are troubling.
3) "Once a carrier has been debarred by shippers or brokers because of a FMCSA safety rating or its reputation has been tarnished, there is no way to undo the harm," the organizations charged. "The agency ignored this economic reality and the devastating effect on tens of thousands of small for-hire carriers."
4) "While the public undoubtedly has an interest in safe highways, it also has an interest in a competitive motor carrier industry, especially in these economic times," the motion states. "A program that decreases competition, reduces jobs, and increases transportation costs, is not in the public interest. Implementation of CSA 2010 in its current form threatens the survival of thousands of carriers, many of which are small companies in rural America."
The American Trucking Association (ATA) reports that it does have concerns with some aspects of CSA 2010. However, it will not be opposing the program. ATA believes that "greater gains can and have been made by working with the agency to make needed improvements to ensure that scores are both fair and accurate".