LITTLE ROCK. CSA will never reappear. The new carrier fitness proposal won’t see the light of day. And shippers and brokers will try to rely on raw BASIC data for carrier selection—but that’s like “children playing with dynamite,” or so Vigillo CEO Steve Bryan outlined in his “big data” presentation at the 2016 Arkansas Trucking Assn. Annual Business Conference here last week.

The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) system, with a goal of identifying those carriers most at risk for accidents and targeting enforcement resources accordingly, “would be a really cool and useful application of big data,” but the program’s shortcomings are simply too fundamental to fix, Bryan explained.

Specifically, Bryan suggested the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cannot possibly meet the review and reform requirements and deadlines placed on CSA by Congress in the FAST Act.

“I wonder if FMCSA has any intention of bringing CSA back,” he said. “I think it’s an impossibly high bar to hit all of those points.”

Instead, FMCSA has attempted address some of the concerns in its proposed changes to the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule which, like CSA, relies heavily on carrier roadside inspection data to identify the worst carriers and declare them unfit to operate.

But Bryan—along with some trucking groups and members of Congress—questions whether the SFD truly gets away from some troublesome aspects of the data, notably the use of percentiles.

Otherwise, the FMCSA avoids the controversy over the use of non-preventable crash data by dropping the Crash Indicator BASIC from the SFD proposal.

“Their response is that they just won’t look at it,” Bryan said. “That’s not fixing anything—that’s ignoring it.”

Similarly, the SFD proposal addresses the problem of enforcement disparity between states by requiring failures in two BASICs before a carrier can be identified as “unfit.”

“Their argument is, ‘look, we understand these problems are there, but we have set these failure standards so high that if you fail them, it’s not because of the underlying problems—it’s because you just really suck,’ that’s basically what it says in the safety fitness rule,” Bryan said. “Again, they explain these away and propose to ignore them.”

And by increasing the minimum number of inspections required for a carrier to be assessed under the SFD, FMCSA has actually made the problem worse when it comes to expanding the pool of carriers who can be scored and rated.