News
Questionable information?
Let's make it more accessible

By David Tanner,

What do you do when truckers file lawsuits against you to remove questionable and inaccurate data about motor carriers from public view? If you’re the FMCSA, you create a smartphone app and share that data with the world.

FMCSA recently rolled out a new app, called QCMobile. The agency says it will allow more convenient access to currently available online safety performance information for interstate truck and bus companies. It will also be a handy tool for law enforcement to check a carrier’s status at roadside in an effort to “expedite an inspect/pass decision by a certified commercial vehicle safety inspector.”

The agency’s timing is not very good, and the app itself is … well, less than good.

OOIDA and five members filed a pair of lawsuits in 2012 and 2013, later combined in 2014, alleging that FMCSA’s large database known as the Motor Carrier Management Information System, or MCMIS, lacks the assurance of data accuracy as well as a functioning process to resolve disputes.

MCMIS is the database that stores data used for the agency’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) and Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.

OOIDA and truckers are hoping to force FMCSA to delete references to state safety enforcement actions against truckers from the database.

Yet here we are with a new publicly viewable version for smartphones.

To us, the app will only perpetuate the problems that already exist with CSA – problems that have been pointed out by lawmakers and oversight agencies – such as how CSA is geared to be penal and never rewarding no matter how good the carrier. Another big problem with CSA is that it does not distinguish who is at fault in a crash. It assumes that because a truck was involved in a crash the carrier is more likely to be involved in a crash in the future.

That made no sense when CSA was launched in 2010, and it makes no sense now.

FMCSA says having CSA scores and other data available to everyone with a smartphone is responsible and transparent.

But unless the data is accurate, sharing the information is nothing short of irresponsible. LL