A Pennsylvania congressman this week has re-introduced legislation that would block trucking company safety scores from public view. Of note is Rep. Lou Barletta’s standing with safety advocates: He has been recognized as a “Highway Safety Hero” by a group that’s often critical of the trucking industry.
H.R. 1371, the Safer Trucks and Buses Act of 2015, is the latest try at a bill that would order the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to stop publishing individual motor carriers’ scores under the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program until the agency has improved the data.
Among the specific improvements, the bill seeks to ensure that CSA:
- uses only safety data and scores determined to be predictive of motor carrier accidents;
- does not unfairly harm small motor carriers; and
- generates safety data that allows individual carriers and their safety scores to be effectively compared.
Barletta, a Republican who serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced the legislation last September, but that bill didn’t receive a hearing before the 113th Congress concluded.
Also last September, Barletta was recognized for by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety for his work in limiting the size and weight of trucks while a federal study was conducted.
“Make no mistake, I am a strong advocate for roadway safety,” Barletta said in originally introducing the Safer Trucks act. “This bill in no way eliminates law enforcement access to safety data, and the worst offenders can still be targeted. Flawed safety scores do not benefit anyone.”
Most recently, Barletta challenged Transportation Anthony Foxx during a hearing on the pending highway bill, questioning CSA’s “effectiveness” in improving highway safety and saying that the program uses data that has “no causal connection” to crashes.
Both American Trucking Assns. (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. (OOIDA) supported the 2014 version of the bill.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has promised a similar bill in the Senate.
Already in the current Congress, Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) has introduced legislation that would remove “the confusing and conflicting vagaries” of the CSA BASICs data as it relates to the negligent selection of a carrier. That bill is supported the freight brokerage industry.