FMCSA's Darling Testifies on HOS, CSA

Scott Darling III, President Obama’s nominee for the next Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), said the National Academy of Sciences will commence its review of the safety scoring program for carriers known as CSA next month.  

Darling, who has been FMCSA’s Acting Administrator since Aug. 5, made the comments during his first confirmation hearing held by the Senate Commerce Committee Jan. 20.

Committee questions centered largely on the controversial Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) carrier scoring program as well as the government-mandated study on truck driver Hours-of-Service regulations.

The recently passed highway bill (FAST Act) required FMSCA to remove CSA scores from public view until the program is fixed and directs the agency to complete within 18 months a study and review of the scores as well as to devise a plan to overhaul and reform the program. CSA has been sharply criticized by industry stakeholders who argue that it does not accurately reflect carries’ safety records.

Darling testified that FMSCA is currently in discussions with the National Academy of Sciences to set up the terms and scope of a CSA study but provided no timeline for its completion.   

Responding to questions about the mandated study assessing truck driver hours-of-service regulations, Darling said the agency has delivered a draft study to Transportation Secretary Foxx’s office, which will then make the rounds to the Office of the Inspector General for review before being sent on to Congress.

Darling called the report “one of the best naturalistic studies on Hours of Service.” 

Following the hearing, senators were asked to submit additional questions for Darling over the next two weeks. A vote on Darling’s nomination has yet to be announced.

Darling has been serving as FMCSA’s Acting Administrator since August and has been with FMCSA since 2012 as the agency’s chief counsel.  Before that, he worked for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Boston’s Conservation Law Foundation.

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