While CSA (f.k.a CSA 2010) has changed its name to Compliance Safety Accountability from Comprehensive Safety Analysis, it has created no new federal trucking regulations. It did produce a new safety management system (SMS). The SMS will analyze all safety-based violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier's on-road performance. The overarching goal of CSA is to improve safety, reduce commercial vehicle related crashes and ultimately save lives.
Minnesota has been on board since May, 2009, as one of nine pilot states. We have much to offer those states yet to adapt to the new broad base categories defined by CSA; however, with the continued revisions to the program we will also continue to learn and adapt until the program is finalized. As with any program designed to change behaviors or improve safety, data is king. Without proper data, you cannot measure effectiveness and without the ability to measure effectiveness, it is hard to put solid mitigation and effective controls in place for improvement. This is risk management 101.
To make sure that the data in the CSA is accurate as it pertains to the motor carrier and drivers (drivers are now as affected as motor carriers) they both must review and verify the data in the system that is generating the results. The motor carrier can go into their own CSA scoring via the Comprehensive Safety Information (CSI) site and drill down in each BASIC to see which drivers, equipment, crash and other data is affecting their scores. If they feel something is inaccurate, they can do a DataQ and request that the information be reviewed and corrected. Drivers and owner operators can, and should, review their scoring through the Pre Employment Screening Program (PSP) site. There is a nominal fee for doing this, but this scorecard will now play a huge role in the driver's perceived performance, so it is important that the information recorded be accurate.
Solid data is one of the wonderful features of CSA, as the program aids in both the collection and usability of the necessary data. This data is meant to provide the information needed for early detection and better corrective intervention, while targeting specific safety concerns.
Not only is the data logged in a user friendly manner, it is also available to the general public. I strongly recommend that you get involved now, as the data can be used with pre-employment screening when hiring qualified drivers. Remember that much of this data can now be viewed by carriers, shippers and insurance companies alike.
With the ongoing driver shortage, CSA data will become even more critical. Whether you're a driver for hire or hiring drivers, be sure to check the data as quality drivers will literally be in the driver's seat when it comes to compensation going into 2011. Keep this in mind as you're looking for new drivers - historically good drivers will only help you improve your scores if their history repeats itself while driving for you.
Prepare yourself by have a clear understanding of the seven broad categories embedded in the CSA program and how they can aid you in these four areas:
- Measuring safety performance and compliance
- Determining safety fitness
- Recommending early intervention
- Tracking and evaluating safety improvements
The risks of not being prepared are stiff and the FMCSA is prepared to invoke strong civil penalties, so don't leave you or your company exposed. Again, motor carriers and drivers alike need to ensure that their information is accurate, make sound changes in areas they're falling short and be constantly involved in the process. The CSA scores are updated on a monthly basis so vigilance, effective intervention procedures, sound safety policies and practices, and buy-in from all stakeholders will be the keys to your continued and future success.