Controversy over CSA scores heated up again when the FMCSA this week returned BASIC score “absolute measures” to public view.

The Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), a trade organization for freight brokers and 3PLs, has condemned the move. “These absolute performance measures will only further generate confusion in the marketplace when hiring a motor carrier and will give the trial bar another arrow in its quiver to seek judgment against a 3PL for negligent selection,” TIA said in a newsletter to its members.

What the FAST Act did and didn’t require

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 4.30.10 PM

In case you haven’t been following the issue, here’s a brief recap. The 5-year highway funding bill (the FAST Act) passed by the federal government in December required the FMCSA to remove certain CSA information from public view, including:

  • “Relative percentiles” in each Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). These are called “relative” because carriers are compared to others in their peer group. (See sample below.)
  • CSA alerts. These are yellow triangles with an exclamation point that indicates a carrier is above a certain threshold in a BASIC category.
  • Crashes in which it was determined that the carrier was not at fault.

CSA information that the government did not require the FMCSA to remove included:

  • “Absolute measures” in the BASIC categories. In these measures, violations are rated by time and severity and the scores do not vary based on the performance of other carriers, as the relative percentiles do.
  • Inspection and violation information.
  • Out of service rates.

As it turned out, all BASIC scores—relative percentiles and absolute measures—were pulled down from the FMCSA web site after the FAST Act took effect on Dec. 4. Now, the FMCSA has brought back information that it was not required to remove. A news item posted on the FMCSA website says that “modifications are complete and the SMS website is fully compliant with the FAST Act.”