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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

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FMCSA making major changes to CSA program

Richard Wilson

Richard Wilson

By: Richard Wilson
Regulatory Compliance Manager
Tran Services Trans Products

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will be incorporating major changes to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, effective December, 2012.

Among the changes planned for full launch in December are:

  • The Vehicle Maintenance BASIC will include cargo and load securement violations
  • The methodology will be updated to align with current intermodal regulations
  • The Cargo Securement BASIC will become a HM (HazMat) Compliance BASIC
  • Clarify the definition of HazMat carriers to ensure any carrier hauling a placardable amount of HazMat will be subject to the HM Compliance BASIC’s intervention thresholds
  • Update the definition of passenger carrier to better identify those operations
  • Align relevant inspections with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspections levels (for example, driver only inspections will not be included under the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC)
  • Modify the SMS display to include more specific terminology in place of “inconclusive” and “insufficient” with information reflecting the number of inspections and unranked compliance

There are four additional changes, all of which address some of the concerns raised by OOIDA:

  • Currently, federal regulations allow for a 5 mph speedometer variance, however CSA included speeding 1-5 mph as a violation weighted and scored by the program. This violation will be removed from CSA.  Also, the severity weight for unspecified speeding will be lowered to a “1” rating.
  • The methodology currently treats similar logbook violations and  electronic on-board recorder violations differently. In December, those violations will be scored consistently.
  • The Fatigued Driving BASIC will be renamed “HOS Compliance BASIC” (hours of service) to reflect that the category measures everything from on-duty violations to paperwork violations.

Paperwork violations, commonly called form and manner violations, account for 35% of all violations under the soon-to-be HOS Compliance BASIC. OOIDA has been very vocal with their opposition to the inclusion of form and manner violations in the enforcement program.

FMCSA officials did not remove any of the form and manner violations from the methodology that I had addressed.

* The following is the speech Richard Wilson presented at the recent MCSAC meeting this past Monday, August 27th, 2012:

“Nothing is currently on the SMS site that shows positive or non-violation inspections; If shippers look at the SMS, all they see is negative inspections with violations.  I think that the DATA should only be allowed to be seen by DOT, State, and MCSAP certified officers and the companies. It shows a prejudice to and against small carriers in being competitive in shipping.”

“Corrective action plans need to be addressed expeditiously and fairly. If an intervention is instituted, and only small or marginal violations are found, the carrier should only have to offer a corrective action plan based on found violations during the specific intervention, not require the carrier to provide all documents for a complete Compliance Review. You have to supply more documents causing delays when requesting an upgrade in rating.”

“Relating to accident reporting, and data provided, accident information is not public information, then why can anyone go on the Carrier overview site, click on “Accidents” and see all accidents with no discerning value of fault?  You say you cannot determine fault, but you can cite a carrier if they do not post accident tests for a recordable accident if they are charged, if they are not charged, then why should it be on the data information?  A non-fault accident looks as bad a a fault accident, and carriers weight as causing an intervention.”

“And last, removal of erroneous data and accountability of road side officers and DOT inspectors. If you prove a carrier had false data reported and prove through a court, or with evidence that it should be removed, then remove it from the SMS. Do not rely on the offending or inspecting officer to automatically, with hard evidence, expect them to remove it. Hold officers accountable for false reporting with disciplinary actions the same as drivers, set up a uniform standard of violations, not some states do this and some do.  Also, accept the courts decision in ruling guilty or not guilty”.

“A Maryland officer said a local judge had no right to turn over an inspection because he had no experience, well why should that same judge be able to find the company or driver guilty and issue a civil penalty?  If he is experienced enough to find some one guilty, then he should be capable to find some one not guilty!”

© 2012, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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