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CSA cargo, hazmat changes finalized; Fatigued Driving renamed

The Fatigued Driving BASIC is being renamed to reflect that the BASIC includes violations such as “form and manner” and “logbook not current” that, by themselves, do not necessarily indicate fatigued driving or driving in excess of allowable hours.

The Trucker Staff

8/24/2012

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Friday revealed the latest modifications to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, including previously announced changes regarding the scoring of cargo securement violations and the creation of a hazardous materials BASIC. Other changes include renaming the Fatigued Driving BASIC and removing points for speeding violations of 5 mph or less. The agency will also create an advisory panel of industry representatives to address CSA issues.

The changes are the latest round of improvements to the CSA program following public input, FMCSA said.

Specifically, as described by the agency, the SMS improvements include:

Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by incorporating cargo/load securement violations from today's Cargo-Related BASIC Moving cargo/load securement violations into the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. Including the load securement violations in the new Vehicle Maintenance BASIC will remove the bias in the current Cargo-Related BASIC that has resulted in identifying a disproportionately large number of carriers that haul open trailers (e.g., flatbeds) for interventions.

Changing the Cargo-Related BASIC to the HM Compliance BASIC to better identify HM-related safety and compliance problems. The HM Compliance BASIC will be available only to logged-in motor carriers and enforcement personnel beginning in December. Further examination of this BASIC will take place over the next year before it becomes available to the public.

Better aligning the SMS with Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) regulations.

SMS will be updated to include violations that should be found and addressed during drivers’ pre-trip inspection on intermodal equipment.

Aligning violations that are included in the SMS with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection levels by eliminating vehicle violations derived from driver-only inspections and driver violations from vehicle-only inspections. All violations from roadside inspections will continue to be on a carrier’s inspection report; however, only violations that fall within the scope of the specific inspections performed will be used in the SMS.

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In addition, four additional changes have been identified since the beginning of the preview period that will also be implemented in December:

Removing 1 to 5 mph speeding violations. FMCSA has aligned speeding violations to be consistent with current speedometer regulations (49 CFR 393.82) that require speedometers to be accurate within 5 mph. The change applies to the prior 24 months of data used by SMS and all SMS data moving forward.

Lowering the severity weight for speeding violations that do not designate the mph range above the speed limit. The severity weight will be lowered to 1 for violations.

Aligning paper and electronic logbook violations. FMCSA will equally weight paper and electronic logbook violations in SMS for consistency purposes.

Changing the name of the Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service (HOS)) BASIC to the HOS Compliance BASIC. This BASIC continues to have a strong association with future crash risk, FMCSA noted. This action is being taken to reflect that the BASIC includes violations such as “form and manner” and “logbook not current” that, by themselves, do not necessarily indicate fatigued driving or driving in excess of allowable hours.

“CSA is raising the bar for truck and bus safety. Our preliminary data shows that fatalities involving commercial vehicles dropped 4.7 percent last year compared to 2010,” said FMCSA Administrator Ferro.  “Still, on average, nearly 4,000 people die in large truck and bus crashes each year. “That is why we are implementing these important changes to make CSA even more effective.”

Additionally, in next week's meeting, the agency's Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee will name a subcommittee dedicated to CSA matters.

The SMS improvements are outlined in the March 27 and August 24 Federal Register Notices, respectively.

Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at kevinj@thetrucker.com.

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