Tips For Truck Drivers

Truckers are unsure about how the new FMCSA Compliance, Safety, Accountability works. It is really quite simple as far as the truck driver goes. The trucking companies have a lot more to worry about to maintain their operations.

Who does it affect:
– all U.S. drivers and trucking companies.
– all Canadian and Mexican drivers and companies that operate in the U.S.

What is CSA:
CSA is a roadside inspection, crash and O.O.S. report card to monitor a driver and trucking company’s performance to comply with rules and regulations that have been in place for years. The FMCSA’s purpose is to gather information more frequently via roadside inspections and grade them more frequently ( once a month). This grading will allow drivers, companies and insurance companies earlier warning signs of safety issues before it becomes an on-sight audit. They are hoping that with monthly reviews, any compliance problems can be nipped in the bud with driver training or company policy review or adjustment. This method will work well if drivers and companies use it according to its purpose.

How does it work.
The simplest way I can put this is to refer it to your school report card. You are categorized into a class (AZ) of similar drivers. (Like students in an automotive, machine shop or electrical class). Every time you enter a roadside inspection (class pop quiz), you are tested on your skills of the trade (pre-trip, logbook, load securement, fatigue, etc). If you fail one of the skills of your job, it results in a violation. Just like before. Now (CSA) that violation is given a score from 1 to 10 (based on its severity to create a condition for a crash situation). That violation # is then multiplied by 3 for drivers and 2 for companies. If it is an O.O.S. violation add 2 to the severity # before you multiply by 3 or 2. The good news is that you are only charged a maximum of 30 violation points in any given (7) BASICS category at any single roadside inspection. E.g.: Failing to keep your log current = 5 severity points x 2 (driver) = 10.

The enforcement officer (MTO) or (DOT) puts this information into a Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS) and it is mathematically calculated against the other drivers in your class. Just like your school report card it will result in showing your class average from 1- 100 (all the other drivers in your class) and show how you rank within the class average. So if your class average is 40 and your score is 15 your doing good. A 0 is a clean score and an 80- 100 means danger. The lower the score the better.

Clean roadside inspection will help lower your score because every inspection counts. A clean roadside inspection helps because the number of roadside inspections are calculated as well. So if you have 50 roadside inspections and only 2 have violations that’s 4%. If you only have 5 roadside inspections and 3 have violations that’s 60% roadside infractions. Lower is better. The more perfect roadside inspections you get the lower it keeps your score and makes you look like driver of the year.

Never leave a roadside inspection without your copy of the inspection report even if was a clean inspection.

Much to early false rumors, you cannot lose your license. You will only lose your license the old fashion way from moving violation points.

At present, only carriers receive warning letters if their SMS score becomes deficient in any Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). FMCSA does not have plans at this time to directly contact drivers. You may be warned at a roadside inspection about your score. Your company may be notified about your scores and it is their responsibility to take appropriate corrective actions.

The negative aspect:
The old Safe-stat only kept tabs on carriers. The CSA keeps tabs on carriers and drivers every 30 days. Trucking companies and insurance companies have access to these scores and can use them for the purpose of hiring and insuring. You will not lose your driving privileges or license. You may however decrease your hiring criteria due to a high CSA score.

When they say drivers will lose their jobs what they mean is that they will lose their employability or insurance companies will not insure them as an employ with the carrier.

This new system of monitoring driver skills and company operations is probably just what we need to help drivers justify daily off time and get rid of shabby trucking companies. If you enjoy driving and want to be a professional this should be an asset to you. Just keep up to date on the rules and regulations like you’re supposed to. Keep your log book and pre-trip up to date. We always hear truckers complaining about bad companies. Hopefully this is the answer.

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