In 2010 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration introduced a safety initiative designed to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles. The program, called Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) tracks data compiled by FMCSA and its state partners (law enforcement) and uses a methodology to assign rankings to motor carriers in various categories called BASICs.
FMCSA developed CSA as a tool to identify motor carriers that need closer scrutiny wherein corrective action can be taken to bring the motor carrier into compliance. A secondary purpose allows interested third parties such as shippers, brokers and insurance carriers to use the BASIC rankings and data to help make decisions about the motor carrier.
The challenge presented by CSA to attorneys like Roberts Perryman who concentrate in defending motor carriers and their drivers in personal injury litigation is whether BASIC rankings are going to be used adversely against our clients. While it is clear that FMCSA did not develop CSA and the BASIC rankings with accident litigation in mind, it is now being used by personal injury attorneys to assist in establishing liability against motor carriers.
Recently I had an opportunity to speak at ATA’s Litigation General Counsel Forum in Coeur D’Alene ID on the issue of whether CSA rankings and data is admissible. The presentation was followed up with an article on the admissibility of CSA in the August newsletter or the International Association of Defense Counsel. For a copy of the article click on the following link:
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