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Today’s Pickup: Changes to CSA recommended

Good day,

Researchers from the National Academies of Science, following a mandate from Congress, have recommended changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.

The report suggests additional study on whether public display of Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores is warranted and what impact is of display of those scores. It also suggests FMCSA reconfigure the modeling used in generating SMS scores and replace it with an “item response theory” model that more accurately targets risky carriers; improves the transparency of the scoring system and simplifies the process for carriers to understand the scores; and stop using relative metrics as the only means to identify carriers.

NAS also recommends better collaboration between FMCSA and states to ensure data collected is of high quality.

“Conceptually, SMS is structured reasonably. However, too much of the detail of what is done is ad hoc. Instead, it would be better to make use of the appropriate statistical model, which will help address many of the issues that have been raised in a natural way and interpretable way,” the report said.

Did you know?

Ransomware attacks have been in the news recently, but more run-of-the-mill data breaches remain a large problem at U.S. companies. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 1,093 data breaches in 2016 at U.S. companies and government agencies, a 40% increase from 2015.


“Because of our size and scale, we know our commitments can shape markets, advance technologies and be a catalyst for infrastructure investments.”

– David Abney, CEO, on UPS’ commitment to 40% alternative and renewable fuel use by 2025

In other news:

UPS increases green efforts

UPS has upped its efforts to use alternative and environmentally friendly power, setting a goal of 40% of fuel used by 2025 to be from sources other than gasoline or diesel. (

IMF view of U.S. economy dims

Citing uncertainty from the Trump Administration, the International Monetary Fund has cut its outlook for the U.S. economy to 2.1% growth in 2017, down from 2.3%. (CNN Money)

Swift tackles driver turnover

In an effort to combat driver turnover, and in particular drivers who quit within their first six months on the job, Swift Transportation has named a vice president of driver engagement. (CCJ)

U.S. adds more lumber tariffs on Canada

The United States has escalated its lumber war with Canada by adding new tariffs on Canadian lumber imported into the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)

Idling still a driver problem

Despite widespread anti-idling laws, trucks are still idling at truck stops and other parking areas. The trick to stopping unnecessary idling is educating drivers. (Heavy Duty Trucking)

Final Thoughts

The National Academies of Science report released yesterday and its related recommendations for improving the CSA safety program is welcome news for many in the industry who have claimed since the start of the program that it unfairly targets safe carriers due in part to reporting differences between enforcement agencies. Perhaps this report will be the impetus for change.

Hammer down everyone!

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]