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CSA 2010 is coming


Unless you’re closely involved with the trucking industry, you’ve probably never heard of CSA 2010. This is going to have a significant impact on trucking companies and drivers, and (hopefully) a positive impact on safety.

You’ve probably heard of the DOT’s SAFER system. This is a publicly accessible database that tracks carrier safety performance. CSA 2010 is basically SAFER on steroids.

For the first time, not only will carrier performance be monitored, but driver performance will also be tracked. This will be on a rolling 36 month tracking period. One of the most interesting things about this, is that even violations for which no citation is issued will be tracked.

For example, an inspector notices that a truck crossing a scale has a burned out tail light. The inspector pulls the truck over, tells the driver, and the driver replaces the light. Even though no citation is issued, this violation will still get entered against both the driver’s and carrier’s safety ratings.

Violations so recorded are given a weight depending on the nature of the violation. You can go here: http://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_AppendixA_ViolationsList.xls to see a spreadsheet of the weights for various violations. Violations are also given a weight based on time; i.e. how long ago they were given. I do think that perhaps some of the weightings should be changed. For example, a burned out tail light as in the above example, is given a weight of 6. An inoperative brake is only given a 4. It seems to me that it should probably be the other way around.

The idea behind this system, is to try to pinpoint areas in which individual carriers and drivers are deficient, and use targeted intervention strategies to correct these behaviors.

The whole methodology used is rather complex. You can go here: http://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMSMethodology.pdf to read the entire 95 page methodology document.

Carrier data will continue to be publicly available. Individual driver information won’t be, but companies will be able to access this data for their own drivers, and for prospective hires, in theory helping companies to prevent hiring bad drivers. It’s also likely that insurance companies will be using this data, and set rates that reflect carrier performance. It’s quite possible that bad carriers will be priced out of the trucking business entirely (and I think that’s a good result).

This system will likely also have an impact on the way crash lawsuits are litigated. Attorneys will be able to obtain this data, which can give a great deal of information on patterns of non-compliant behavior by carriers and drivers. I am concerned that this information could be blown entirely out of proportion during trials, resulting in undeserved excessive damage awards. On the other hand, bad carriers are going to really get clobbered, hopefully putting them out of business.

Comments and questions welcome.


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  1. Facebook User says:
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    Unfortunately, CSA 2010 will probably wreck the careers of many drivers who are forced to operate substandard equipment due to the greed of trucking companies and equipment operators.

    Truck drivers have limited control over the type of equipment they work with, and their employers pressure them to deliver loads on time, so it’s absurd for a driver to be penalized for something that’s beyond his control.

    If the government were serious about safety it wouldn’t allow drivers to drive 11 hours a day or work 14 hours a day, not counting the extra hours that most drivers hide from their log books.

    Most trucking rules and regulations are too lenient towards trucking companies, while being excessively harsh to drivers who are at the mercy of their employers.

  2. Truckie D says:
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    Facebook User-

    Drivers are ultimately responsible for the equipment they operate. If the company that they’re working for won’t maintain the equipment properly, or pressures drivers into exceeding the legal hours of service, then it’s time to seek employment elsewhere.

    There are lots of trucking companies out there that operate legally, with well maintained equipment, that are hiring.

    I do agree that the regulations have a disproportionate impact on drivers vs. companies (as well as shippers and receivers). Even though that’s the case, it’s still up to the driver to just say no.

    There was a case several years ago of a company that wanted a team to take a load, and told them they didn’t have time to do a pre-trip inspection. The team refused, got fired and ended up winning a substantial judgment from the trucking company.

    How a driver operates is a choice that the driver makes — and the driver is responsible for the consequences of that choice.