Tucker Blog

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Administrator Ferro named Jeff Tucker to the CSA Subcommittee of the Agency’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC). Tucker was selected from many applicants, due in part to his work with the TIA Carrier Selection Framework and many years serving as an advocate and educator in the area of motor carrier safety and shipper and broker liability.

There have been four meetings of the MCSAC subcommittee since October 2012. The subcommittee is comprised of bus operators, state police officials, a truck insurance firm, a large motor carrier, a bus operator, a bus driver union representative, a representative from an owner operator’s group, and two professional safety advocates. Senior FMCSA officials attend and participate in the meetings. 

      On April 9, 2013, the MCSAC agreed to pass to FMCSA the CSA Subcommittee’s recommendations for improvement to the CSA system.  Tucker remains baffled that the agency didn’t recognize and act on the obvious need for these changes long ago, but we believe certain elements within FMCSA have internal agendas that outweigh reason and due process. Those elements seem to be ruling the day.  We hope this partial list of recommendations will begin to turn the tide: 

  1. For a carrier’s Crash BASIC, exclude crashes where there is a clear determination that the carrier was not at fault or (in the language of the regulations), the crash was non-preventable. (e.g., don’t penalize the carrier when a car runs into it while the truck was stopped at a red light) 
  2. Evaluate changing the definition of reportable DOT crash for purposes of CSA to include only fatalities or injuries (e.g., exclude deer kills where no cars or people were involved).
  3. Remove CSA scores from public view (their purpose is exclusively law enforcement) or, at a minimum, remove the Controlled Substance/Alcohol and Driver Fitness BASICs. (Carriers with higher scores in two (2) BASICs are involved in fewer accidents than carriers with lower scores!). 
  4. FMCSA should standardize the data it gathers from the individual 50 states. 
  5. FMCSA should not encourage non-law enforcement personnel (e.g., shippers, brokers, insurance companies, etc.) to use CSA data for carrier selection, and should not provide “guidance” on using CSA data to determine a carrier’s “qualification” for use.  The purpose of SMS is exclusively for internal law enforcement prioritization.