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Beware CSA Scores in Trucking Litigation

February 1, 2013

This article was written by: Charles M. McDaniel, Jr. for the Volume IX – Issue 4 – 2012/2013 of the Carlock Copeland newsletter.

In December of 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched its Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program (CSA). According to Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, “the heart of the CSA is the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which collects safety data from inspections and crash reports, then weighs the severity of violations within seven different categories.”1 The SMS quantifies the carriers to prioritize enforcement resources, determine the safety and compliance problems that a motor carrier may exhibit, and track each motor carrier’s safety. As further noted by Mr. LaHood, “the aspect of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program that gives me greatest confidence is its transparency. The data and calculations used by SMS are public. So, if there are problems or errors, carriers and drivers can request a review.”2 However, in the process of publicizing SMS data, the CSA program has created a vast depository of evidence for plaintiffs to potentially exploit in trucking litigation. Anyone involved in handling claims and defending the trucking industry must be aware of and familiar with CSA. Read more from Carlock Copeland’s newsletter on: Beware CSA Scores in Trucking Litigation

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