From the Idealease Safety Bulletin

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will soon release its plan to overhaul the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring system, the agency’s chief of enforcement announced on January 9.

Upgrading the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) will be a multi-year process, said Joe DeLorenzo, director of FMCSA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement, speaking at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.

The revision plan is overdue; Congress asked the FMCSA to have it done by December 5th. It’s expected to describe how the agency will implement recommendations issued last year by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Among the recommendations are better data collection and use of a new statistical model known as Item Response Theory (IRT), which is sometimes used to grade hospitals and schools but has never been used in the transportation sector, DeLorenzo said.

Fed the right data, the IRT model can be used to assess a motor carrier’s overall “safety culture,” he said.

“We’re not trying to predict crashes,” he added, “but we are trying to identify those behaviors that carriers engage in that can lead to crashes.”

The IRT model incorporates many of the existing elements of the SMS but is more transparent and – like the SMS – can be used to monitor and identify carriers for interventions, DeLorenzo said.