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Although a new study raises doubts about the reliability of CSA scores, those scores increasingly help federal regulators shut down unsafe trucking companies.

Last week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered motor carrier Three Angel Farms out of service, citing, among other criteria, high CSA scores.

The Tennessee-based trucker exceeded thresholds in two BASIC categories, Fatigued Driving, with a 97.4 percent score, and Vehicle Maintenance, 96.3 percent.

Angel Farms was also involved in two accidents in the past six months, including one in January where a driver fell asleep and overturned his vehicle.

That accident on I-24 killed three of the 38 horses the driver was hauling. The driver told police he had worked at the farm all night with only 30 minutes of rest.

Another Three Angels Driver was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of a horse in June, when his trailer “snapped in half” on an Interstate highway.

A subsequent FMCSA investigation of Three Angel Farms found that none of the farm’s three drivers were qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Three Angel Farms, a small, non-traditional trucking operator, was the ninth interstate motor carrier shut down by the FMCSA this year.

FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said the agency is stepping up efforts to pursue and shut down unsafe trucking companies as well as motor coach operators.
“We will use every little bit of our authority to get bad actors off the road,” Ferro said during a conference call with reporters in early June.

Early last month, the agency shut down Wisconsin trucker WTSA US Express. In May, the FMCSA closed Demco Express, also citing high BASIC scores in its order.

Also in May, the FMCSA shut down BM&L Trucking and affiliate company IDM Transportation of Alabama as well as Judson Mobley Logging of Georgia.

The agency also shut down J&A Transportation, Reliable Transportation and U&D Services earlier this year. High CSA scores led the FMCSA to the carriers.

A 22.8 percent surge in the number of carriers with a conditional safety rating from February 2011 through April 2012 also is attributed to greater use of CSA data.

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