After a year of preparation and planning, CSA 2010 is finally in full-effect. The Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) and its seven BASICS (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) have replaced SafeStat. By now companies have had ample time to review their scores and correct problem areas. The government has trained its enforcement staff and intervention letters have been sent to those who need them. Since there is no longer “time to prepare” for CSA 2010, the emphasis has shifted to improving BASIC ratings and continuing compliance.
The first step toward remaining compliant is having a full understanding of the new metric for grading carriers and drivers.
Back To BASICs
The CSMS assesses carriers in each of seven BASICs. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the BASICs represent behaviors that can lead to crashes. The categories were developed based on information from a number of studies that quantify the associations between violations and crash risk, as well as statistical analysis and input from experts. The seven BASICS are:
• Unsafe driving;
• Fatigued driving (Hours-of-Service (HOS));
• Driver fitness;
• Controlled substances/alcohol;
• Vehicle maintenance;
• Crash indicator (reportable crashes).
Compared to SafeStat, the previous rating system, the CSMS contains more comprehensive data.
Richard P. Schweitzer, director of regulatory affairs, National Private Truck Council (NPTC), explains some of the key differences between the two systems.
“SafeStat had fewer areas of review. For example, it didn’t have driver records; it only had carrier information. Also, SafeStat analyses only granted a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade, or a conditional safety rating, whereas the new approach gives scores.
“The other important thing is, under the prior system the only way for the FMCSA to intervene was through a compliance review and an enforcement action,” Schweitzer continues.
“The new system will have a menu of interventions from warning letters to a series of discussions and re-evaluations, to enforcement actions and finally termination of operating authority.”
According to Jim Angel, product manager, safety and compliance issues for PeopleNet, SafeStat identified 6,642 carriers that needed review in 2010. In that same year, because of the broader spectrum of data collected, the CSMS had identified more than 51,000 carriers with safety behavior problems for investigations. Angel says the three most violated BASICs are unsafe driving, fatigued driving and crash indicators.
Impact On Industry
BASIC violations may become a game-changer in the way carriers hire drivers.
“In the past, fleet managers required drivers to be 25 years old, have a clean driving record and a minimum of two years experience,” says Angel. “Now companies may have to add an HOS violation criteria.”
The NPTC’s Schweitzer predicts that CSA 2010 will also have a large impact on carrier contracts.
“Companies that operate private fleets are generally both shippers and carriers, and there are a number of companies that ship large quantities of product partially with their private fleet and partially with for-hire carriers,” Schweitzer says. “In this situation, companies will have to take a look at CSA 2010 metrics and perhaps revisit their transportation contracts.
“Currently, many contracts state the carrier has to be licensed by the FMCSA and has to have a satisfactory safety rating, for example. But now such language is obsolete, so contracts may have to be rewritten to focus on BASIC ratings in each of the seven areas.”
There are many tools available today to help carriers improve their BASIC ratings to ensure they can keep their customers and their drivers.
Electronic logs are one type of technology that fleets may adopt to cross-check and manage compliance with their HOS regulations. They also help in dispatching and fuel consumption, as well as other management areas.
Angel suggests the use of electronic logs, which automatically calculates driving hours of service through a combination of GPS location and vehicle management engine diagnostic information, to reduce HOS violations. “Since Aug. 16 the HOS BASIC has been the No. 1 violation, and e-logs can reduce that by 15 percent.”
Charlie Mohn, product marketing manager for XATA, says a majority of the food and beverage industry has already adopted the e-logs trend, so fleets without this tool are at a disadvantage over carriers already using it.
The NPTC’s Schweitzer says private fleets and the government are now considering other technologies such as electronic stability controls, lane departure warning systems and collision warning systems to help avoid crash indicator BASIC violations.
“The Department of Transportation is looking at those technologies with regards to trucking, but I think we are a way’s away from mandating that type of technology, although a lot of companies have voluntarily taken them on,” says Schwietzer.
Controlling speeding and keeping up with preventive vehicle maintenance is another way to avoid crash indicator BASIC violations.
“In fleets that have a metropolitan footprint, there’s a big drive to help track and improve how fast drivers are driving,” says Mohn.
Speeding is a concern for fleet managers and their insurers because it not only indicates unsafe driver behavior; it also results in poor fuel economy and increased vehicle maintenance. Speed tracking helps fleet operators identify high-risk driver behavior and train drivers to correct their habits.
“The solution we have launched around speed management combines SpeedGauge, a commercial vehicle GPS data provider for speed tracking and analysis, and XataScope” says Mohn. “It pinpoints areas like school zones and construction zones using a database of millions of geofenced areas with data from nearly every major street in the United States and Canada.”
For more information about CSA 2010, visit the CSA 2010 website at www.csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov. The site contains explanations, answers to questions, tips and guidance.