CSA update: Critic encouraged by reform efforts, anticipates return

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Despite the Trump Administration’s proclaimed disdain for regulations, the highly touted, questionably effective, and Congressionally parked Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program could be back online within a year, says one of its most knowledgeable and vocal critics. And that might not be a bad thing.

Indeed, not quite a year ago Vigillo founder Steve Bryan questioned whether CSA, after being put on hold by Congress pending an outside review, would ever be revived.

But after participating in the CSA reform meetings conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, he’s now hopeful that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s program, designed to use inspection data to identify carriers most at risk for accidents and target enforcement resources accordingly, can come back and live up to its initial promise.

Speaking with Fleet Owner Wednesday after the announcement of Vigillo’s merger with SambaSafety, Bryan characterized the NAS panel members as  “real serious scientists, independent of the FMCSA ... a dozen or so PhDs from every discipline you can think of.”

“I think I’m pretty well tuned into where the collective thinking is, in terms of the reform initiative, and I think we will probably see something out of the Academies by the end of May, early June,” Bryan said. “I’m optimistic that the recommendations are going to come back very strong, very focused, and will make CSA a better program.”

And, Bryan suggests, President Trump’s order that two regulations should be cancelled for every new one might not apply.

“I think, in trucking, that runs up against what our new Secretary of Transportation [Elaine Chao] has stated, that her main initiatives are safety and more use of technology,” he said. “I would be very surprised if CSA goes anywhere other than back out live. We’ll probably see CSA scores back in the next year, year and a half—and they’ll be greatly improved. I don’t think there’s much chance of it going away.”

Stay tuned.

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