Who, Me?

By on March 1, 2010
RoadKing Mag

Are you ready for the CSA 2010? Formally known as the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, it is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new proactive safety program. Now being rolled out, it will be fully implemented by this July.

Be advised: it holds drivers much more accountable. Because research indicates that more attention needs to be paid to commercial motor vehicle drivers, much of CSA 2010 focuses on improving driver safety performance.

A driver’s previous 36 months and a carrier’s previous 24 months of roadside safety inspections, tickets, violations, accident data, etc., will be evaluated and an intervention process put in place with the carrier when deemed necessary. Under CSA 2010 a progressive series of steps are employed, from a warning letter, to targeted roadside inspections to onsite, comprehensive investigation of a carrier.

The goal is to catch problems early, then follow up to address specific issues. This is done using the Driver Safety Measurement System, which assigns a number value to each “safety event,” based on the probability of the violation causing a crash, and the possible severity. Severity is measured from 1 (least severe) to 10 (most severe) for each applicable violation. The severity weights total will be capped at 30 from any single inspection.

A weight of 1, 2 or 3 is assigned to each applicable violation based on how long ago a violation on the inspection was recorded. Violations recorded in the past 6 months receive a time weight of 3. Violations recorded between 6 and 12 months ago receive a time weight of 2. All violations recorded earlier — within the past 24 months — receive a time weight of 1. After a prescribed cutoff date, older events are assumed irrelevant and no longer used.

For example, a citation for following too close or speeding carries a violation severity weight of 5. If received in the last 6 months, the time weight is 3, for an assigned value of 15 (5 x 3). After 13 months, the assigned value drops to 10 (5 x 2); after 25 months, the assigned value drops to 5 (5 x 1).

Drivers also get “dinged” for vehicle maintenance: no pre-trip inspection, assigned value 4; inoperative tail lamp, assigned value 6; tire under-inflated, 3; improper head/auxiliary/fog lamp aiming, 6; mismatched slack adjuster effective length, 4; horn inoperative, 3; no/discharged/unsecured fire extinguisher, 2; stud/bolt holes elongated on wheels, 2; and the list goes on and on.

A few important points: CSA 2010 assigned values are separate from a driver’s CDL. A driver’s safety ratings stay with him if he changes carriers or becomes an owner-operator. The ratings are not available to drivers or the public, and carriers are not notified of driver ratings unless that information is part of a safety intervention.

Many drivers are upset about CSA 2010, especially as it relates to vehicle maintenance issues. They feel it’s the company’s responsibility to take care of their vehicles and I agree. But if a driver fails to report vehicle problems and deficiencies, how can the company do anything about it?

There are times when drivers operate a truck that has a turn signal or marker lights out, a flat tire or air lines that rub the deck plate. They’re usually in a big rush and figure the chances of getting inspected are slim, so let the next driver write up the problems.

Now, under CSA 2010, all drivers are going to have to step up to the plate and take the responsibility for having a properly maintained, safe vehicle or accept the consequences if they don’t.

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2 Comments

  1. Katherine Serrano

    March 8, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I am only three years trucking, but have over 20 years driving buses. I was a safety manager and trainer. I can see the potential problems with the system as it stands. To not be able to monitor what points are assigned to you as a driver is a big problem. Government agencies frequently input wrong information. If any driver has had an accident assigned to him incorrectly, he knows the hassle of trying to get it removed from a driver abstract or worse yet from a DAC report.

    Just a year ago, when crossing the border from Canada into the US I stopped by NYS DOT for an inspection. My vehicle was inspected and failed for air line wear. My vehicle had just passed a state inspection 3 days earlier. Additionally, the vehicle was inspected in Canada the previous week to inspect work done at that facility.
    I was disgusted that two facilities missed the wear that did not meet NYS standards. I was glad the officer was communicative and explained the specific problem. I was told that the problem was specific to the Freightliner design modifications ordered by my company. The officer said that NYS specifically looks for this problem on our company vehicles. He said the company should be aware of the problem because anually they write enough tickets for it. He also stated that unless I knew what to look for, I would not find this problem on a normal pre-trip.
    I shudder to think that an automated system that will assign points to my permanent performance record for this type of violation is about to go in place.

  2. Paul

    March 10, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Too many times drivers have been told to Just drive it. If you get stopped the company will take the hit for it. Well now the shoe is on the other foot. If we drive a vehicle that has defective equipment on it we will also Take the hit. I drive for a carnival and the little stuff like wiper blades and marker lights often get left off. (Drive during the day and don’t turn on the lights) I told my company mechanic I’m sorry for the hell we’ll be putting you through this summer. I for one will not be driving any rig that is not 100% FMCSA. I just can’t take the hit I expect the company to be getting a written warning this year.

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