CSA 2010 Deadline… Much Ado About Nothing
Over the weekend, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) released carriers CSA scores for the public to see, following a decision by a federal appeals court that denied a suit from a group of small trucking companies looking to prevent release of CSA safety data.
Sure it sounds like a monumental event, but the issue is really moot. CSA is going to replace SafeStat and the FMCSA was going to use the new data to assess carriers regardless of the outcome of the suit. Frankly injunctive relief, after all the notice the FMCSA has given the industry, seems a remote possibility.
The tempest is humorous because carriers should have been tackling the root causes of the scores two years ago when they could do something about them. Those driver violations and vehicle defects will drive their CSA scores for two years. It’s too late to reduce their scores now, so some carriers want to block the release of the scores or change the rules.
The scores are what they are and the FMCSA has already made adjustments to both how they’re calculated and if/how they’re reported. More importantly they have demonstrated a willingness to continue to work with the industry to get it right.
The undertaking was and remains monumental. The sheer increase in the volume of data contained in CSA versus SafeStat (all roadside violations versus just out-of-service violations) is staggering.
CSA is a work in progress but it is also a real performance-based tool. It captures all violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations on roadside inspections but it also rewards carriers who “get it” and eliminate the violations because they reduce in value and eventually fall off their record over time. The science behind the initiative is valid and carriers need to embrace it and address the unsafe behaviors not try to defeat or weaken it.
The FMCSA recently revealed that only 13,000 carriers (out of a total number of approximately 600,000) had even bothered to check out their CSA data. This statistic is far more revealing about the true nexus of the last minute hoopla. Failure to prepare, as my Dad used to say, does not constitute an emergency.
Trucking is inherently dangerous. Driving heavy trucks on roadways with all types and caliber of drivers entails risks. Getting unsafe carriers (and drivers) off the road should be the goal of every reputable carrier. Reputable carriers are damaged by rouge carriers every day whether by the damage their operations do the industry’s reputation or by trying to compete for business with carriers who skimp on safety, compliance, maintenance, etc. YPNW3VYWPT5G
CSA is good for good truckers. CSA is good for business.
By Kevin Mullen, Director - Safety