5 Ways Truck Drivers Can Get Ready for CSA 2010

csa-2010-trucker-tipsSpeculation is rife that the new CSA 2010 will result in 175,000 truck drivers losing their jobs. Obviously this is causing a lot of concern among drivers already coping with financial uncertainty. So what’s behind the rumor, is there any truth to it and what can drivers do to make sure that CSA 2010 is not bad news for them?

Like a lot of rumors there is an element of truth to the claim, and it’s mostly driven by the fact that CSA 2010 will highlight poor driving records to anyone willing to pay the $10 for access to the FMCSA Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP).

What information can be viewed using PSP?

The PSP is a public database provided by the FMCSA that can be accessed by anyone but will most likely be used by potential employers. It gives a carrier access to a driver’s safety history based on 36 months of inspection history and 60 months crash data.

It is expected that employers will be using PSP as part of background checks on potential candidates for driving positions, and thus past misdemeanors could come back to haunt drivers looking for work.

Carriers will be paying more than the usual attention to a driver’s safety records because CSA 2010 will penalize them more heavily for unsafe drivers. And the worse SMS score a carrier has, the more likely they will be a target for roadside inspections, potentially compounding the problem. A SMS score is made up of both Driver SMS, or DSMS, and Carrier SMS, or CSMS.

Five ways drivers can prepare for CSA 2010

1 – Store inspection reports

Start your collection by having your boss provide you with the safety records they have on you. From now on keep copies of inspections records, which include any roadside violations.

Prior to a discussion with a current or future employer it’s a good idea to check your safety history as shown in the PSP, and be ready to challenge any inaccuracies with your inspection reports, as well as making sure the FMCSA update any incorrect data they have on your driving history.

2 – Know the rules

As a driver you share some of the responsibility with your carrier for running a safe operation and keeping a low SMS score, so it’s imperative to be know, and comply with the FMCSA regulations and scoring system.

Some of the main guidelines for drivers are such things as observing HOS rules, obeying speed limits and keeping your vehicle in a safe condition. There are more tips available here.

3 – Be familiar with your employer’s safety record

Make it your job to know what your employer’s (or future employer’s) SMS score is, since it will impact on your own score (DSMS). A high carrier SMS (or CSMS) will most likely mean more targeted roadside inspections, and this could lead to additional demerit points for your own individual scoring.

By knowing what a carrier’s weak points are you can take extra precautions on your pre-trip inspections. Make sure there are no reasons for FMCSA officer’s to add further damage to the score!

4 – Learn the BASICs

The BASICs are the new standards by which the SMS score will be based on, and covers areas of safety for both carriers and drivers. It pays to know what each safety category is, and how it impacts on your role within the fleet.

It’s also a good idea if you know the fleet’s weak points since it is likely the FMCSA will focus on these areas during inspections.

5 – Fight for your CDL

If you ever feel like a citation issued is unfair, it’s vital to fight it. Citations are a significant part of your driver score, and it can take years to regain a clean license. Remember a good driving record will be invaluable as carriers look even harder for the safest drivers available, drivers that will help them keep the lowest possible SMS score.

CSA 2010 will bring big changes to the industry but by being prepared you can make sure that you don’t become a victim of change.