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(An Article By Derek Hinton, Owner of DOT Job History)

The new FMCSA CSA. Oops, what was that I stepped in?

About a month ago I wrote an article in part about CSA 2010. In that article, I wrote:

“Under CSA 2010, all carriers--and in the future all drivers--with sufficient safety data available will receive a safety rating that will be periodically updated. Currently, FMCSA is able to provide safety ratings for relatively few carriers and for no drivers.”

I received several calls and emails that disputed that, and in fact, on the FMCSA website under Frequently Asked Questions (http://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov/FAQs.aspx?role=MC) it says this:

Do individual CMV drivers get an individual driver safety rating under CSA 2010?

No. Under the new program, as it is currently constructed in the Operational Model test and planned for implementation, FMCSA will not rate or determine the safety fitness of individual CMV drivers beyond what is currently defined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This does not preclude FMCSA from developing a driver rating or safety fitness determination process at some time in the future.

Given what I wrote above, it looks like the old smart aleck word merchant stepped in it doesn’t it? But I don’t know: if something waddles like a duck, has webbed feet like a duck and quacks like a duck, it may be a horse, but it’s probably a duck.

And with CSA 2010, there will be a Safety Measurement System (SMS). SMS includes two distinct safety measurement systems:

So what does this Driver Safety Measurement system do?

The DSMS assesses both the Fatigued Driving BASIC and Driver Fitness BASIC using relevant violations recorded during roadside inspections to calculate a measure in each BASIC for individual drivers. These measures are used to generate percentile ranks that reflect drivers’ safety postures relative to their peers. SMS Methodology Revised March 2010 page 23.

Is it just me or does “These measures are used to generate percentile ranks that reflect drivers’ safety postures relative to their peers” sound kinda like a driver safety rating? How does it relate to “FMCSA will not rate or determine the safety fitness of individual CMV drivers beyond what is currently defined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations”?

It looks like drivers will not be rated or have safety fitness scores assigned by FMCSA, but measures will be used to generate a percentile rank of a driver’s safety posture as compared to peers. The following BASICS (this stands for Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) are used “to calculate the driver measures and percentiles for each BASIC and the Crash Indicator for individual CMV drivers.”

  • Unsafe Driving BASIC and Controlled Substances and Alcohol BASIC
  • Fatigued Driving BASIC and Driver Fitness BASIC
  • Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and Improper Loading/Cargo Securement BASIC
  • Crash Indicator

Regardless of the terminology used, I think all would agree that driver's behaviors are going to be monitored, judged as to severity and frequency, and then used to compare one driver’s safety “posture” to another. It would be unwise for drivers to assume their safety fitness will not be judged beyond current FMCSA regulations.



 
 
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