In an earlier article published just before President Donald Trump's inauguration (see Holland & Knight's alert, "Carriers Advocate for Data-Driven Regulations," Jan. 19, 2017), it was noted that railroads and trucking companies were aligned in their desire for regulations based on demonstrable data. Trucking companies have already received an early victory from the Trump Administration with respect to the use of Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) data.
The trucking industry has long taken issue with the CSA data collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), calling into question whether that data is a good indicator of a trucking company's safety. CSA data is the safety data aggregated by the FMCSA and broken down into categories (BASICs), much of which had been public, and used to assess the safety of a motor carrier. Congress has required that the data be removed from public view while its efficacy is studied. Nevertheless, under the Obama Administration, the FMCSA issued an Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, indicating its intent to increase the use of CSA data as part of its safety fitness determinations. 81 Fed. Reg. 3562 (Jan. 21, 2016).
The FMCSA formally withdrew the proposed rulemaking in March 2017, stating that it "must receive the Correlation Study from the National Academies of Science, as required by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, assess whether and, if so, what corrective actions are advisable, and complete additional analysis before determining whether further rulemaking action is necessary to revise the safety fitness determination process." 82 Fed. Reg. 14848 (March 23, 2017). Critics of the rule appear to have convinced the FMCSA that it should, at minimum, take a wait-and-see approach regarding CSA data.