Trucking industry fights to hide truck safety records from public

It’s rare that hiding information helps to solve a problem.

This is not an exception.

The Safer Trucks and Buses Act, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Barletta, would remove the trucking carrier safety rankings from public view.

Anyone can check a carrier’s safety record on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website.

Why hide truck safety records?

The proposed law would remove access to the safety scores – rendering them inaccessible and useless.

Proponents argue that the scoring system is flawed. The American Trucking Association says that “data and methodology problems plague the system” so the scores are inaccurate.

Smaller carriers in particular take issue with the safety rankings. One safety violation has a bigger effect on their CSA scores, since the BASIC (Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) categories are graded on a curve.

That means the motor carriers with the worst truck safety records are still at the bottom, even if they improve.

I’m not sure that’s really a problem, but even if the CSA’s safety scores are not perfect, removing scores from public safety solves nothing. And it limits the public access to potentially important information.

If the way the Department of Transportation measures trucking carrier safety is not an accurate reflection of the carrier’s record of road safety, then propose a concrete way to fix it.

Less transparency is not the answer.

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Attorney Kevin Coluccio represents truck crash victims in Washington State.

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