CSA - Carrier Safety Administration

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is amending the Carrier Safety Administration (CSA). The news in the trucking industry is that there is a new carrier safety measurement coming into place that will affect those truckers that go into the U.S.

There was a lawsuit launched about the concern regarding negative results being made public and thus branding certain carriers as unsafe. This lawsuit is still going through the courts and at time of publishing in February 2011 has not been resolved.

Markel Insurance advises that most U.S.-bound fleets will likely need to address shortcomings in at least one of the seven measured areas of the new safety measurement system known as CSA 2010. Since the regulators have changed their rules retroactively, that means the first reports will be generated with inspection data that has been collected over the past two years.

What is in the reports?

The reports detail the following under the headings of BASICs:

  • Measuring unsafe driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Driver fitness
  • The use of controlled substances and alcohol
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Cargo-related issues
  • Crash indicator

The trucking company will be able to use this information to help in their risk management. Safety issues can be addressed and it should help to reduce claims. This will help to lower their insurance costs.

The information about crash experience and cargo-related issues will not be public information. There was a concern that some types of trucking companies, such as those who pull flat-deck trailers, are subject to a higher scrutiny because their loads are so visible.

The old rating system of SafeStat will be phased out. There is also going to be some new terminology for safety fitness. The new terms will replace the current definitions of Satisfactory, Conditional and Unsatisfactory. These new terms will include:

  • Unfit
  • Marginal
  • Continue to Operate

CSA will not label carriers as "Deficient" in certain BASICS, as originally planned, but will now use the more friendly term "Alert."

Changes in speed penalties

Something else that is new will be tiered speeding penalties. Examples include for travelling one to 10 mph over the limit will net just one point. If you were speeding by 15 mph or more then the penalty is 10 points.

It is good risk management to be aware of states such as Ohio the have aggressive speed enforcement.

Which trucks will get inspected?

CSA will amend the formula for determining which trucks to inspect. The new categories under the rating system will be called ISS 2010. The carriers will fall under one of three categories as they pass the scales:

  • Inspect
  • Optional
  • No inspection required

What about Canadian fleets?

The aim of the CSA is to identify carriers with a pattern of non-compliance or with serious violations.

If your fleet has not yet accrued sufficient data to produce a CSA score then you could be targetted. Canadian fleets with limited miles in the U.S. may be near the top of the list to get waved in.

What about serious violations?

A serious violation could be failing to implement a drug and alcohol program. The Serious Violation label will stick to a carrier for a year and there are 113 such violations.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has already sent out over 6,600 warning letters. Would you like to know where your fleet stands? Carriers and enforcement personnel can already access two years of related Safety Management System (SMS) data with nothing more than a DOT number and a related PIN. It is simply a matter of visiting http://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/basics.aspx, and selecting the “data preview” option on the menu bar.

Now is time to be reviewing your safety program and be sure that you have the necessary control over your operations. Risk management is the process of doing what you can to control the frequency and severity of bad things that can happen to your business. Insurance comes into play for the things you cannot control or minimize. Talk to your agent or insurance broker.