CSA 2010 is here or soon will be and what is really happening to the carriers and drivers in the CSA 2010 test states is now going to apply to you. I thought you would want to know the truth about living and driving within the new CSA 2010 regulations. I know they have changed and are still changing, but remember — your safety score is what will control whether you drive or you are asked to leave your job.
To get the true flavor of what to expect I spoke with Rose Kastrup, director of the department of risk management and safety at O & S Trucking in Springfield, Mo. O & S Trucking had Jim O’Neal as owner from 1987 to 2000 when O & S became an employee-owned company. O & S, a for-hire carrier, currently has 354 power units, hauls general freight and refrigerated loads nationally with annual revenue in excess of $60 million. Missouri was one of the original test states and DOT selected 50 percent of all the carriers in those states to be subject to the new CSA 2010 BASIC’s rules and regulations. O & S Trucking was one of the lucky carriers to get selected and has been working under the ever-changing rules since 2008.
Here are Rose’s responses to my questions.
Klepper: “When the carrier or the driver goes through a roadside inspection and receives a warning, how do you go about contesting that warning?”
Kastrup: “If there is a warning that is not justified then we can contact the state and request that it be removed but we are finding that due to the number of challenges some states are not acting on them and simply closing the case. This is extremely disappointing due to the fact that a warning weighs the same as a citation, even as much as an excessive citation.”
Klepper: “When the driver receives a citation, how quickly does the carrier get notified from CSA? What is your company policy for drivers to tell you about their citations? Has CSA caused you to make any changes in your policies? Do you rely on CSA to report the citations as required by FMCSA or still rely on the driver?”
Kastrup: “A lot of this depends on the state submitting the information. The CSA 2010 website is updated every month, the portal is closer to real time and we see new data approximately every three-four days. Our company policy is that drivers need to tell us about any incidents warnings and/or citations as soon as possible. We are auditing these websites every week and comparing their data to ours and reviewing discrepancies. We have partnered with an outside resource to compile data and give us reports on company numbers and driver numbers.”
Klepper: “What do you think 2010 will do to your driver pool or the national driver pool?”
Kastrup: “Carriers will be eliminating drivers due to their CSA 2010 safety points assessed which will reduce the number of qualified available drivers to the trucking industry. The FMCSA will not be disqualifying drivers on their safety scores, the pressure will be on the carrier themselves thanks to DOT and insurance companies.”
Klepper: “Has your safety rating changed for the better or worse under the new CSA 2010? Will you be able to get back to your original rating under 2010 or do you believe higher scores are an automatic result of the way DOT determines your 2010 ratings?”
Kastrup: “Our safety rating is satisfactory and our ISS has been at a pass or optional status for the last five years. When we received our intervention letter that said we were an unsafe company, we were definitely caught off guard. The new CSA2010 program shows our areas of concern much sooner than the SAFERSYS program would. We have two areas of concern that we probably would not have focused on as quickly had it not been for the new review process.”
I also asked Dianna Fox, executive vice president-sales for O & S, if CSA 2010 has any affect upon how shippers are dealing with drivers and their loading and if CSA 2010 will have any affect upon shipping rates for carriers.
She said shippers are asking questions about CSA 2010 and know there will be some additional requirements on their end but I have not seen or been told of any specific standard operating procedures that any shipper has implemented at this stage to prepare.
Additionally I asked Jim O’Neal, president of O & S, how CSA 2010 has improved O & S efficiency and safety.
“The CSA 2010 will be a positive change for the industry,” he said. “We will all have to learn to adjust to the new program, but as drivers and carriers we have weathered changes to the regulations such as a change after 60 years for the Hours of Service. The program has helped O & S design better proactive measures to ensure we have the quality drivers we are looking for. Safety is an imperative at O & S and anything to improve our program is welcomed.”
Talking with safety, sales and the president of a test state carrier has convinced me that CSA 2010 will ensure that safe drivers will be the only CDL drivers on the road, as it should be. The next few months will be rough and tough on everyone, but CSA 2010 will soon be here and the only choice is to learn to live within its rules. Drive safe, keep your job and you can expect shipping rates to go up as well as what carriers pay their drivers.
Jim C. Klepper is president of Interstate Trucker Ltd., a law firm dedicated to legal defense of the nation's commercial drivers. Interstate Trucker represents truck drivers throughout the 48 states on both moving and nonmoving violations. He is also president of Drivers Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to his firm’s services at discounted rates. A former prosecutor, he is a lawyer who has focused on transportation law and the trucking industry in particular. He works to answer your legal questions about trucking and life over-the-road and has his Commercial Drivers License.
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