The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will implement at least five new and updated rules in 2013, with a few coming by March. The new rules will include:
1) An electronic logging device (ELD) rule that will piggyback on a 2011 FMCSA rule by addressing driver privacy issues. Almost all interstate trucks will need to carry an ELD.
2) A drug and alcohol rule will establish a universal database which will contain records of drivers with positive drug and alcohol tests, as well as drivers who refuse to submit to testing. This rule is meant to help carriers make proper employee hiring decisions.
3) A new health and fitness rule will outline how the FMCSA will use the Compliance Safety Accountability program in evaluating transportation carriers.
4) In April, a registration rule will combine four legacy FMCSA systems to help spot unsafe carriers who recently formed new companies in order to avoid regulations.
5) A medical rule coming in March will require medical examiners to submit their results through FMCSA to state driver-licensing agencies.
These are just a few of the new rules that will be established this year. A 2012 MAP-21 law requires the FMCSA to propose 29 new and updated rules over the course of the next couple years. The FMCSA must also complete 34 programmatic changes and 15 studies on transportation and logistics issues.
FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro revealed that on December 3rd, major changes were made to the CSA program. The changes affect the monthly update of truckers Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores. The SMS changes include the following:
• Moving load securement violations into the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.
• Renaming the Cargo-Related BASIC the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC. HM BASIC scores will not be made publicly available until December 2013. In the interim, they will only be available to motor carriers and law enforcement officials. The intervention threshold for the HM BASIC with be set at the 80th percentile.
• Reflecting in carriers’ public on-line records the percentage of their inspections that involve placarded quantities, to provide some context to their scores (e.g., if the carrier very infrequently transports placarded HM).
• Renaming the Fatigued Driving BASIC the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC
• Attributing to motor carriers those violations found on equipment offered/provided by an intermodal equipment provider that should reasonably have been identified by the driver during his/her pre-trip inspection. A list of these violations is available at this link.
• Removing from consideration in the Unsafe Driving BASIC all speeding violations between 1 and 5 mph over the posted limit. This change will be made to all such violations retroactively (for the prior 24 months) and moving forward.
• Reducing to “1” the severity weight for those speeding violations where a mph is not indicated. This change will be made retroactively to all such violations that occurred on or after January 1, 2011 and moving forward.
• Making the severity weights for comparable EOBR and logbook violations the same. Previously some hours of service violations (e.g. form and manner; no logbook) carried more weight for paper logs than for EOBRs. Now, all form and manner violations (both paper and EOBR) will bear a weight of “1” and failing to have a log will carry a weight of “5.”
• Establishing new criteria for defining which carriers will be subject to the lower HM intervention thresholds in each BASIC. To be subject to the lower thresholds, carriers must either possess a HM safety permit or have at least two inspections in the prior 24 months involving a vehicle transporting a placarded quantity of HM, and with one of these inspections in the prior 12 months. Also, unless the carrier holds an HM safety permit, at least 5% of its inspections must involve a vehicle transporting a placarded quantity of HM.
• Ensuring all recorded violations accurately correspond to the relevant inspection type. In other words, only driver violations (not vehicle violations) stemming from “driver-only” inspections will be counted and vice-versa.
• Changing the terms used to describe carriers that do not have enough inspections to be measured in a BASIC from “insufficient data” to “< than 5 inspections.” Also, the performance of those without adequate violations to be scored will no longer be labeled “inconclusive,” but instead “no violations within 1 year.”
• Assigning a percentile score (e.g., 0%) to those carriers with a sufficient number of inspections, but otherwise lacking sufficient violations to be scored (does not have at least one violation).
• Revising the “Summary of Activities” section of a motor carrier’s information on the SMS website to separately list fatality and injury crashes.
• Adjustments to the severity weights assigned to violations.
• Fine-tuning the utilization factor used to incorporate vehicle mileage into the exposure measure in the Crash Indicator and Unsafe Driving BASIC
• Modifications to the safety event (peer) groups FMCSA uses to compare carriers of similar size and exposure.
This information was provided by www.truckline.com
Many people are not happy with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative. In fact, some allege that it could hurt small carriers, which is why they went to Congress with a hearing about the issue.
Specifically, the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which attempts to determine the future crash risk of drivers, is not considered a good tool to use. In fact, according to Trailways (http://www.teamtrailways.com/house-small-business-hearing-on-fmcsas-csa-program/), many people think of it as arbitrary. This is why they want the SMS to become private, so no one is judged on the information in the database.
The CSA Is Not Always Considered Helpful
The majority of carriers are not rated, so the CSA has so far not helped shippers determine the best ones to use. Some think the FMCSA should outright tell shippers which carriers are the safest, rather than using the CSA to require them to make this determination.
In addition, there is a debate going on between FMCSA and other groups, such as Wells Fargo Securities, regarding whether CSA is able to predict the risk of a crash. The FMCSA continually claims that the program can tell whether a particular driver is likely to end up in a crash, while some studies claim otherwise. For this reason, some are not yet convinced that the CSA is even useful.
Another concern is that the CSA cites drivers in crashes that might not have been their fault. The American Trucking Associations in particular is worried about the fact that in most crashes that involve a truck, drivers of passenger vehicles were often found at-fault. Now with the CSA, truck drivers are often cited because the initiative tends to blame them more than others on the road.
Small Carriers Could Be Negatively Affected by CSA
Also, smaller carriers could be at a disadvantage because they do not get inspected very often. When they finally do, just a few flaws can majorly affect their score from the CSA. Larger carriers that get frequent inspections do not face the same issue, and the concern is that they are using this advantage to win business that might otherwise go to smaller carriers.
Many are also unsure that trucks need to have an electronic onboard recorder, as the CSA would mandate. Though some have voiced their concerns, the FMCSA seems to be going forward with it, even though it will cost about $2 billion.
The FMCSA has largely defended the CSA against these accusations. However, some changes could still be made in the near future.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) could be losing a major supporter if things do not change soon. This is because many in charge of American Trucking Associations (ATA) are unhappy with the way the FMCSA has been operating lately.
Problems with the CSA
The main complaint from ATA is that FMCSA has been ignoring the concerns of many carriers regarding the Compliance, Safety Accountability (CSA) program. The CSA was meant to keep drivers safe on the road, but it has actually led to some carriers being punished for things not in their control. In fact, FMCSA insists that certain events indicate the likelihood of crashes in the future, which is why it records these details in the CSA.
For example, accidents are recorded and count against carriers when their drivers are involved. This means some carriers have been punished for accidents supposedly caused by their drivers, even when they did not cause them at all. The CSA does not have a way to record whose fault an accident was, which is why it tends to punish anyone who was in an accident, whether it was a truck driver’s fault or not. This is a major issue since these records can have such an impact on carriers.
FMCSA’s Lack of Response
ATA takes particular issue with the fact that FMCSA apparently refuses to discuss the faults of the program, let alone change anything. Even though the concerns held by the staff of many carriers have been brought up, FMCSA has not taken steps to acknowledge or improve the issues. Though both groups claim to always put safety first, ATA officials do not appear to believe FMCSA is going about this the right way, and they have commented that they will do anything necessary to change that.
In short, those in charge of ATA hope to change FMCSA in the following ways:
- Allow CSA records to show whether a truck driver was at-fault in an accident.
- Encourage FMCSA to pay more attention to the public’s concerns.
- Help the agency meet its goals when it comes to improving safety on the road.
ATA officials want to make it clear that they agree with the objectives of FMCSA, which is why they want to see some improvements in how the goals are carried out. In addition, the concerns mentioned here are just some of the most recent ones, since carrier officials have been voicing their problems with FMCSA and the CSA for a while now. It remains to be seen if FMCSA will finally respond to the concerns.
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released a survey to find out how truck drivers feel about the government’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.
About the Survey
The survey is anonymous and results will be released toward the end of 2012. Last year, the survey gathered answers from nearly 5,000 truck drivers, which was incredibly helpful in identifying general attitudes and awareness. It is mutually beneficial for drivers and the government as program details can always be improved.
The survey addresses all of the following issues:
• Your concerns about CSA’s effect on employment.
• The changes you have seen since CSA was implemented.
• Whether you have viewed the driver data available as a result of CSA.
• How your employer has reacted to the program.
• How much you know about CSA.
The CSA was created by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) to increase safety by reducing accidents on the road that lead to injuries or death among both drivers and passengers. The new rules apply to all carriers that drive from one state to another while carrying more than 10,000 pounds.
How to Take It
Some truck drivers are wary of programs like CSA because they assume their employment is threatened. Similarly, carriers may think their employees will be unfairly penalized or even terminated, but this is not the point of CSA. In fact, the program does not have the power to take away jobs. Instead, its main focus is to keep track of drivers and carriers with unsafe practices so that they can be educated on how to do things correctly. In this way, drivers, carriers, and everyone on the road should benefit from CSA.
Due to the many misconceptions of CSA, ATRI intends to use the survey to find out how the program is perceived among carriers and drivers with the assumption that additional education will be necessary to help everyone understand how it works. This is why you are encouraged to take the survey, especially if you have concerns about CSA that you would like to see addressed.
The Compliance Safety Accountability program is placing much greater stress to have tires that are well maintained. The CSA is making tires instrumental to the new safety specifications that are to be upheld with the new program. At the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas on Friday, experts said truckers should make sure their tires are properly mounted, are able to suit the hauls they carry and are fuel-efficient. The statements came from a tire technology seminar that took place during the Trucking Show. Tires “are one of the top three expense items owners have,” said Clif Armstrong, Continental Tire commercial vehicle Marketing Director.
There are a few key points the experts touched upon during the seminar. Armstrong and others noted. “With CSA, you have to know what the air reading is in your tire.” They continued on to talk about compounds, tread design, sidewall and bead design; all topics that have to do with increasing fuel economy. Don Baldwin, Michelin’s commercial tire product category manager, noted that sidewall and bead area design is critical for reducing rolling resistance. Erica Graves Walsh, Bridgestone’s engineering manager for original truck and bus tires, also joined Baldwin and Armstrong, among others, at the Trucking Show to talk about proper tire safety for the Supply Chain Industy. Bridgestone has recently created its own website dedicated to tire safety cleverly named tiresafety.com.
For more information on the CSA, check out our blog Driver Education and the CSA.
The American Transportation Research Institute recently released the results to its latest survey concerning truckers and the CSA. The survey showed that 4,555 truck drivers have a poor understanding of the government’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. Out of all the truckers who participated in the survey not one answered all 14 questions right. In fact, participants scored an average of 5.71 out of 14, or 41 percent. It is clear drivers need to be educated on the new CSA program and how it will affect their jobs and their industry.
Reports say the results have initially caused more job security concerns. Nearly two-thirds of drivers are somewhat or extremely concerned that they will lose their jobs as a result of CSA. TheTrucker.com recommends enhanced driver knowledge and support through multiple training and education sessions, as well as other sources of familiarization. Getloaded.com went more in depth to say that attitudes were neutral for drivers who had no training, somewhat negative for drivers with one training session and somewhat positive for drivers with multiple sessions. In other words, drivers who received more than one training session from their employer were the only group who had a positive perspective on the program.
Based on this study, drivers’ ability to better understand, appreciate and correctly follow CSA begins with employer education. Ed Crowell, Georgia Motor Trucking Association President and CEO, commented “ATRI’s study clearly points out that motor carriers, state trucking associations and FMCSA collectively need to do more to educate drivers about CSA and what it does and doesn’t mean for their jobs.”
A breakdown of the results can be found here and a copy of the survey can be obtained at the ATRI website.
Area Transportation has announced the implementation of a new pay program wherein drivers with low CSA scores will see a boost in pay.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has not released any driver scores, Area Transportation has modified its proprietary software to mirror the CSA points and weighting system.
Kevin Mullen, Director- Safety and Recruiting said, “The FMCSA has invested a great deal of time and money in CSA in an effort to identify unsafe drivers and carriers. We believe the science behind CSA is valid and we would be silly not to use the program as a basis to identify and reward our safe drivers.”
Drivers applying to the flatbed carrier will also qualify for the pay boost based on the scoring of their Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) violations.
“We believe we’re the first carrier in the nation to use CSA scores as the basis to reward drivers for avoiding unsafe behaviors”, said Mullen.
“We intend to incentivize safe behaviors by rewarding drivers financially for not speeding and not getting violations on roadside inspections. ”Mullen went on to say.
“Under this program drivers will have an incentive to do their pre-trip inspections, get defects repaired and obey speed limits, etc. because several thousand dollars will potentially be on the line for those who do.” Drivers whose scores rise above pre-set thresholds will see the bonus decrease or lose it all together.
Drivers can modify their behaviors and earn the bonus percentage but they can also get too many points and lose all or part of it.
Safe, experienced flatbed drivers with recent metal-hauling (coils, etc.) experience are encouraged to apply by calling 800 332-0920 or filling out an on-line application at www.adslogistics.com
I’ve previously used this blog to talk about the perfect storm looming over not just trucking but the transportation industry as a whole. We’re all familiar with the potential impact of proposed Hours of Service regulations and the new Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative.
Despite six of the safest years in the history of trucking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed to reduce the number of hours drivers can drive. Any reduction of hours equates into lost capacity. The proposal was in response to the third challenge of their Hours of Service regulations. Rather than defend the regulations a third time the FMCSA entered into a consent agreement. There is a huge cry, including from Congress, for the agency to scrap the proposed changes and defend the regulations they spent years and millions of dollars crafting.
CSA, if it delivers on the promise, should help the FMCSA identify, intervene with and logically shut down more unsafe carriers. Less carriers further reduces capacity.
Now the FMCSA mandate for electronic on-board recorders and electronic logs within three (3) years will further constrict capacity.
Meanwhile carriers are scrambling to beef up pay programs in an attempt to retain and attract good, safe, qualified drivers. Upward pressure on rates is helping but having been depressed for so long even the spot capacity issues of the past few months hardly scratch the surface of this longstanding issue.
If all that isn’t enough, the US Department of Labor reminds us that Baby Boomers began turning 65 this year and are projected to begin retiring at a rate of 10,000 per month. 120,000 retirees per year shouldn’t be too alarming except that we know far too many of our drivers are Baby Boomers. Our driving workforce averages more than 50 years old and the average increases yearly. Driving is not particularly attractive to young people. The hours and work are difficult especially for the long-suppressed wages we offer. The drain of retiring Baby Boomers will further reduce trucking capacity.
Finally, unrest in the Middle East and unconstrained speculation with respect to futures have combined to once again cause a dramatic spike in fuel prices. As with any other overhead item with any other industry this will result in higher freight rates and fuel surcharges. The likelihood that prices will ever decline again is anybody’s guess but clearly is very unlikely.
The perfect storm can be tamed but the cost is going to be staggering and must be shared by everyone. Trucking carries more than 70% of all US freight according to the latest Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) conducted by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and the US Census Bureau in 2007. The vast majority of US homes and business are served only by trucking. Other modes of transportation are not an option. Everyone is going to have to pay more. Rates must rise and rise precipitously for shippers who will, naturally pass those increases along to consumers. We are all going to pay to right the transportation ship but righting it is the only option.
Only when drivers can earn a decent income, for a reasonable work week, can we expect new people to come into the industry.
Only when shipping rates rise and rise substantially can we pay good, safe, professionally drivers what they are really worth.
There’s been a lot of discussion about this issue but it’s time for the discussion to end and shippers and carriers to ante up.
Article Written By Kevin Mullen, Director- Safety & Recruiting.