CSA 2010 – Safer trucking?

It has almost been a year since CSA 2010 was introduced to all carriers throughout the U.S. It was progressively rolled out through 2010 and modified several times to make the system more workable for both government agencies and truck owners.

Has it been successful? Has it achieved its aims of Compliance, Safety, and Accountability? Many experts in the industry have warned of the dangers of receiving a poor CSA ranking, but how has it really affected fleets? Is it taking dangerous drivers, or unsafe carriers off the road?

What about the rumors of 175,000 truck drivers losing their job because of unfair compliance requirements? How have drivers adapted to the changes, and how are carriers coping successfully with the new rules?

CSA 2010 – Greater compliance puts pressure on carriers

If nothing else, CSA 2010 reminds us that governments are continually looking for ways to tighten up standards and regulate industries. Conspiracy theories aside, the aim is generally to improve safety and improve standardization, giving businesses consistent guidelines and boosting the public’s confidence in the safety of our nation’s roads.

The emphasis put on safety standards has put the spotlight on truck fleets to make sure they’re managing their fleet carefully, and monitoring their ranking in the SMS (the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System for recording carrier compliance).

What it means is fleets can no longer fly by the seat of their pants when its comes to driver and vehicle safety. They need to pay greater attention to the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).

The BASICs are defined as follows:

  • Unsafe Driving BASIC – Operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in a dangerous or careless manner. Example violations: speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 397)
  • Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service) BASIC – Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in non-compliance with the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations. Example violations: exceeding HOS, maintaining an incomplete or inaccurate logbook, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 395)
  • Driver Fitness BASIC – Operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example violations: failing to have a valid and appropriate commercial driver’s license and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV. (FMCSR Parts 383 and 391)
  • Controlled Substances and Alcohol BASIC – Operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Example violations: use or possession of controlled substances or alcohol. (FMCSR Parts 382 and 392)
  • Vehicle Maintenance BASIC – Failure to properly maintain a CMV. Example violations: brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, and failure to make required repairs. (FMCSR Parts 393 and 396)
  • Cargo-Related BASIC – Failure to properly prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and unsafe handling of hazardous materials on a CMV. Example violations: improper load securement, cargo retention, and hazardous material handling. (FMCSR Parts 392, 393, 397 and applicable DOT HM regulations)
  • Crash Indicator – SMS evaluates a motor carrier’s crash history. Crash history is not specifically a behavior. Rather, it is a consequence of a behavior and may indicate a problem with the carrier that warrants intervention. It is based on information from State-reported crash reports and identifies histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity.

Most professionals in the industry would agree that these measures on their own are effective in capturing unsafe carriers. FMCSA have issued hundreds of intervention warning letters and conducted lots of targeted roadside inspections. It is hoped that they have the commitment and the teeth to follow through on repeat offenders and, in serious cases, issue Operations Out-of-Service Order (OOS) notices to take dangerous truckers off the road.

Don’t wait for FMCSA to come knocking

You don’t have to wait to receive a warning letter from the FMCSA before you take action on fleet safety. Telogis Fleet helps you monitor a wide range of CSA safety factors covering the BASICs. From pre-trip inspections to maintenance scheduling, real-time driver monitoring and automated HOS reporting Telogis solutions provide a complete safety system to keep you and your fleet in FMCSA’s good books, minimizing infringements, intervention action, and of course costly accidents.