LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Truckers might not have liked what they heard here about CSA 2010, but standing room only presentations at the Mid-America Trucking Show were meant to be truthful, not popular.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration put on a couple of sessions to explain its Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 Initiative, the coming compliance program which includes a new measurement system, a broader array of interventions, and a new safety fitness determination method. Additionally, the agency intends to have a greater emphasis on drivers under CSA 2010.
A third session was mounted by an industry consultant and former driver who could afford to be a little less cautious with his interpretations of the new system than could official government representatives.
“I’m going to tell you some things you don’t like, but I’m going to tell it to you straight,” said Kelly Anderson, president of Impact Transportation Solutions and a former driver and recruiter. “I’m going to tell you why there’s going to be the largest driver shortage America has ever seen.”
First, a few basics discussed during the meetings:
A driver’s record will include any roadside inspections and crashes, and violations are weighted according to the risk of leading to a crash. A driver’s history goes back three years, and any violations are additionally weighted based on how recent they are.
The record of a driver’s roadside inspections and crashes will be available to carriers under another program, the Pre-Employment Screening Program, but a driver’s point total does not carry over to a new employer.
Similarly, if driver leaves a carrier — or is fired for his CSA 2010 points — those points remain with the carrier until they roll off. In other words, a carrier’s score does not improve directly by getting rid of drivers — except that a high-scoring driver’s next violations will be counted against his next company.
The CSA 2010 points are not points on a CDL — the new program has nothing to do with a driver’s motor vehicle record.
Additionally, drivers should make sure to get the paperwork from any clean inspections, as clean inspection reports improve the scores under CSA 2010.
The details of the program, including to the points assigned to inspections, are available at csa2010.fmcsa.gov.
Know your company
In his presentation, Anderson noted some misperceptions he’s come across, ranging from the claim that CSA 2010 would take away CB radios to stricter medical qualifications that would take 200,000 drivers off the road. CSA 2010 has no such provisions.
On the other hand, CSA 2010 probably will take 200,000 drivers off the road, Anderson added, sparking an uncomfortable buzz in the audience. He went on to explain, however, that most of those who would attend a truck show and come to an educational session wouldn’t be among them.
“Ninety percent of this industry is made up of hard working Americans doing what we can to support our families,” he said. “But there are a couple of them out there that don’t need to be there.”
And with the audience accepting 10 percent as a reasonable base figure for problem drivers, he did the math: that means 320,000 drivers could lose their jobs — and most probably should.
“There are going to be some driver records that are going to come to light, and they’re not going to be employable,” Anderson said.
“If I know safety directors, the hiring criteria for carriers are going to get very high,” he said. “Drivers will be taken out of this industry.”
He immediately raised the ire of a driver who suggested if the carrier refuses to fix the marker lights, the driver should not be blamed.
Indeed, drivers need to know about the people they are working for — because a carrier that has deficient scores in CSA 2010 is going to attract the attention of roadside inspectors, Anderson explained.
“If you’re driving for a carrier that demands you run illegal, you better find yourself another carrier — quick,” Anderson said. “Because they will give you a record where you’re going to have to find another career. But the people that are doing the right things right don’t have anything to worry about.”
The good news will be improved opportunities for the better drivers.
“The trucks are going to start stacking up, and the carriers are going to start backing off,” Anderson said. “If you’ve got a good record, start marketing yourself. Any driver here, and I know a lot of you have good records, should be going, ‘yeah, come on!’ because there are some people in this industry today we don’t want to share the road with.”
The upshot for the best the drivers will be improved pay and benefits, Anderson anticipates, as quality, verifiable experience will finally be rewarded.
Anderson also rejected a suggestion from the audience that CSA 2010 was just another way for the government to “get in truckers’ pockets.”
“It’s not about money, it’s about saving lives on the highway,” he said.
Summing up, Anderson noted the things drivers should begin doing immediately:
• Do the right things right.
• Review your inspections, and keep copies, and
• Keep informed.
The need to inform truckers about CSA 2010 is what brought the FMCSA to the Mid-America show.
CSA 2010 is designed to be more efficient and more effective in preventing truck accidents, explained Steve Piwowarski, CSA 2010 Training Manager — or, even more simply, “to help everybody in the system to be better at what they do.”
“Do you folks realize that you could put all of enforcement out of business if everyone did the right thing?” Piwowarski said. “Well, we don’t have that yet — but we want to get there.”
Because the current system results in safety audits of only 2 percent of carriers, the object of CSA 2010 is to get to more carriers, and sooner, so corrections can be made that will improve safety, he explained.
“We really want you to take more responsibility for safety than waiting for us to do it,” he told the drivers, joking that a maintenance program for some truckers is letting a roadside inspector say what needs to be fixed. “There’s a dual responsibility with the motor carrier and the driver for compliance.”