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A safety-rating system developed by the U.S. Transportation Department unfairly tarnishes trucking and bus companies for crashes that may not be their fault, a House committee was told.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s scores are hurting companies with good operating histories, lawmakers said, citing complaints they’ve received from trucking companies. Brokers, shippers and insurers are less likely to do business with companies with bad scores, even if they’re based on paperwork violations, they said.
“While the old adage of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ does not completely apply here, there are questions about the reliability and integrity of the data,” Representative Nick Rahall, a West Virginia Democrat, said at a hearing held by a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee.
The Transportation Department developed its Compliance, Safety and Accountability system to better identify unsafe companies for inspection. The American Trucking Associations is asking the agency to revise what data is being included.
“FMCSA must acknowledge that the system does not accurately and reliably identify unsafe carriers,” said Scott Mugno, vice president of safety for FedEx Ground Package System Inc., who testified on behalf of the Arlington, Virginia-based trucking trade group.
The agency’s priority “should be to focus on the least safe carriers, not merely those carriers that have compliance problems,” he said.
FMCSA’s data and ratings have been validated by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, agency Administrator Anne Ferro said. Carriers with the worst scores have crash rates twice often as the average company, Ferro said.
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