Why Is It Needed?

Since the 1970s, Federal and State enforcement agencies in partnership with many other stakeholders have progressively reduced the rate of commercial motor vehicle crashes resulting in injuries or fatalities on our Nation’s highways.

The rate of crash reduction slowed, prompting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to take a fresh look at how the agency evaluates the safety of motor carriers and drivers and to explore ways to improve its safety monitoring, evaluation, and intervention processes. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is the result of this comprehensive examination.

Limitations of the former Operational Model

FMCSA's compliance and safety programs improve and promote safety performance and save lives. However, agency resources available for these efforts have remained relatively constant over time, despite increases in the regulated population and additional programmatic responsibilities. Given these constraints, FMCSA has identified limitations in both how safety is measured and how unsafe behaviors, once identified, are corrected.

  • FMCSA's former compliance review (CR) program was resource-intensive and reached only a small percentage of motor carriers, which made it increasingly difficult to continue to improve motor carrier safety using existing tools.
  • Onsite CRs to determine a motor carrier’s safety fitness required an average of three to four days to complete. At program staffing levels, FMCSA could perform CRs on only a small number of the 700,000 active interstate motor carriers.
  • SafeStat was FMCSA's former system for measuring safety performance. Though it proved effective, SafeStat grouped safety problems together to identify carriers for a one-size-fits-all CR. Moreover, it did not focus on the behaviors known to cause crashes.
  • The FMCSA Large Truck Crash Causation Study indicated that increased attention should be given to drivers of commercial motor vehicles.

CSA builds on FMCSA's former processes for assessing and improving the safety performance of motor carriers and drivers through the new Safety Measurement System and a new suite of tools. These include an enhanced CR, in addition to more focused and efficient interventions tailored to address specific problems.

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