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BREAKING NEWS: FMCSA will again display crucial truck company safety info

Written by Steve Gursten Posted March 30th, 2016

Following the controversial removal of critical safety data – including CSA scores from the FMCSA SAFER website – the agency announced it will now post the “absolute measures” of BASIC scores for public view – but how much?

FMSCA BASIC scores, image

You may recall that our attorneys recently discussed some monumental and very disappointing changes to the FMCSA’s SAFER website (www.safersys.org). In short, the FMCSA decided to hide critical safety data from the public eye.

The FMSCA claimed it felt removing the scores was part of the process to improve them, as was required by the FAST ACT.

Well, for safety advocates, the public, and attorneys like myself who litigate truck crashes for a living, there’s now some good news, and some bad news.

The good news is some information will again be available for the public to freely view on the SAFER website. The bad news is, it is less information than was previously available before.

The next update to site will include the “absolute measures” under the BASICs – which is a critical metric. The website will provide a snapshot that in fact, does show the absolute score of the motor carrier. But what it does not show is how that motor carrier stacks up against other trucking companies. There will no longer be a ranking (which previously ranked motor carriers by percentile). And there will be no notification when a motor carrier is above the agency’s intervention threshold for posing a high risk to the public.

This is certainly better than it was when all of the safety information was taken down by the FMCSA, and in that respect, at least it still provides some good information for trucking industry safety advocates and for truck accident lawyers, such as the Roundtable.

But it’s still not enough. The new pruned down information makes it significantly harder for shippers and brokers to choose safe trucking companies. It also hurt many of the truck drivers I come across, many of whom truly care about safety and who would like this information when applying for prospective jobs.  More information in almost any context would be extremely helpful. Safety is No. 1, and safety should take precedence over everything else – especially the interest of the powerful trucking lobby groups that fought to keep this information from the public.

For more information and to read the new proposal, click here.

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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