Why Courts Should Not Admit CSA Scores as Evidence

John Crawford co-authored an article in the December 2012 For the Defense magazine.

“It is well known that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched its newest program to track the performance of commercial motor vehicles in 2010.  The program, formerly called “CSA 2010” and now known as “CSA” (Compliance, Safety, Accountability), collects information from a variety of sources and gives motor carriers a score based on that data.  The FMCSA claims that the program will reduce crashes involving commercial motor vehicle by identifying carriers that have deficient scores in one or more areas and then allowing the FMCSA to intervene to try to fix whatever may be causing the carriers to have the deficient scores.

While some data will remain private, many of the scores are, or will soon be, accessible on the Internet. The FMCSA says that making the information public makes the rating process transparent so that carriers and others can understand how and why a carrier received a certain score. Making the information public will also make it accessible to plaintiffs who may seek to have the information admitted as evidence for trials. This article will discuss how and why a plaintiff will seek to use the information, how and why a carrier should seek to keep the information away from a jury, what can be done to limit the effect of the information if a judge decides to allow a jury to hear it, and what revisions the FMCSA might make to the CSA.”

Read the full article.