Breaking News: FMCSA Kills SFD Changes!


The FMCSA just announced that it is withdrawing its controversial safety fitness determination (SFD) rulemaking issued in January 2016 and will also cancel plans to issue a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) announced back in January to help support the SFD effort.

Per the FMCSA:

“The new methodology would have determined when a motor carrier is not fit to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in or affecting interstate commerce based on: the carrier’s on-road safety data; an investigation; or a combination of on-road safety data and investigation information,”

The changes to be published in the Federal Register on March 23, 2017.


This comes on the heels of a recent call on new DOT leader Elaine Chao to have the proposed regulations killed or substantially altered due to the changes being based on the controversial CSA safety scoring system that is currently under review.

FMCSA kills SFD regs

Love it or hate it, FMCSA’s CSA is a system that has stirred mass controversy since its implementation in 2010.

CSA: Good or Bad?

My personal view is that, at it’s core, CSA is a good system for monitoring a motor carrier’s compliance with the DOT regulations. It serves as a decent tool for what it was intended for: assisting Federal and State law enforcement officers with prioritizing motor carriers for increased scrutiny due to their track record of crashes and compliance.

The system is not without it’s flaws. There should be a way to assign preventability to crashes that are recorded and compliance enforcement should be more consistent across America.

But, the largest issue is that the system and it’s various measurements have been bastardized by the Plaintiff’s Bar, freight brokerages and insurance companies.

FMCSA kills SFD Regs


Each of these entities uses the information contained in the CSA system to their own ends as a way of judging how “safe” a motor carrier operates.


The Largest Flaw for FMCSA’s CSA System

Suing trucking companies has become like suing Big Tobacco over the recent years and multiple cases each year have been tried with seven figure verdicts being handed down by juries. Attorneys can’t help themselves. The treasure trove of widely available CSA data on each carrier can be twisted, turned and bent into telling many different things.

The freight brokerage community largely has to rely on a carrier’s CSA information because they fear being held vicariously liable for the motor carrier’s actions. Which, in no small part, is due to a monster jury verdict handed down against a large freight broker.

Insurance underwriters thrive on information and data. The more, the better…inaccurate, flawed, correct or otherwise. CSA data can shed some light into how safely a motor carrier operates. But, especially using only a CSA BASIC score Percentile measurement to judge how safe a carrier is operating is both misguided and just plain dumb.

FMCSA drops SFD Changes

If you really dig into the numbers and have a true understanding of which each represents, then you have a fighting chance of understanding how compliant a motor carrier is.

Yes, there are obvious relationships between FMCSA regulatory compliance and fleet safety. But, using a motor carrier’s CSA information against them (oftentimes without fully understanding what the data represents) is almost criminal.


Our company provides real insight into how safely a motor carrier operates. We also manage safety and compliance for over 3,300 owner-operators and small trucking companies across the country.

How can we help you? Check us out at www.Carrier Risk


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