Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CSA 2010 Explained

CSA 2010 Explained

I'll apologize now for the length of this post, but CSA 2010 needs to be explained.

On June 23, 2010, the senate had a hearing on the implementation of CSA 2010. Keith Klein, representing the American Truckers Association (ATA), testified of the numerous flaws that CSA 2010 will be bringing about.

Here is a synopsis of the issues that that ATA has according to his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

Crash Accountability

The ATA is concerned over crashes that are not caused by the trucker. Under the CSA 2010 guidelines, all crashes are weighted the same. Even those that are not caused by the trucker. The ATA feels that this is not equitable and will penalize good drivers. There is tremendous concern that the FMCSA will make this public and shippers will have the wrong idea about carriers.

Exposure Measurement

The FMCSA currently uses the number of trucks to rate the exposure of a carrier. The problem with this is that there are those carriers who have tremendous utilization of those trucks and other carriers who have trucks that are parked. The exposure is rated the same for both, which is not equitable. The ATA feels that FMCSA should rate the exposure based on miles run, not the number of power units.

Warnings for Moving Violations

The FMCSA is currently counting all moving violations and warnings the same. The problem with this is that a warning is simply that – a warning. The driver has no way to go through due process to have the warning removed. The problem, of course, is that this will go on the driver’s record regardless of the validity and will be used to measure the carrier’s safety performance.

In many states law enforcement officers must have probable cause in order to stop a truck and perform an inspection. In these states, it is common practice for enforcement
officials to stop trucks for trifling speeding offenses (e.g., 3 mph over the limit), and issue
warnings as justification to conduct inspections. As a result, carriers operating in these states are disproportionately impacted and likely have worse driver violation scores than carriers who operate elsewhere. For example, based on data we obtained from one large, national motor carrier, trucks operating in Indiana – a probable cause state – are four times more likely to receive a warning for speeding than carriers operating in non-probable cause states.

Inequitable Treatment of Flatbed Carriers

An additional concern is the disproportionate impact of CSA 2010 on flatbed and other open deck carriers. These carriers have a far higher risk than other carriers of being cited for load securement violations since the violations are more evident (visible) and because they typically have far more load securement requirements. This problem is especially acute given the fact that, as mentioned earlier, all load securement violations bear the maximum severity weight in the scoring system.

Because open deck carriers are placed in peer groups with van bodied carriers, their relative performance is often seen as worse - simply because they comply with tougher requirements and because their violations are more evident. There is a very simple way to address this clear inequity; in order to measure their relative safety performance these carriers should be placed into a peer group of like-type carriers.

Representative Walz, a subcommittee member, asked the question “What does this program do as far as what you have to do to monitor and implement the program?”

Mr. Klein responded that larger trucking companies already have people in their safety departments, but their focus has to shift from accident reporting to safety monitoring and compliance. Smaller and medium sized companies will need to hire more people to monitor, train, and implement their program.

In summary, the goal of CSA 2010 is reduce the number of fatalities and accidents. Fatalities are currently at the lowest level since the DOT has been keeping records, but they feel there is still room for improvement.

Note to Shippers………

It was also brought up that many of the items that lead to violations can actually be controlled by the shippers. Shippers can often make demands upon carriers because their customer urgently needs something. Shippers are going to have to re-think, as drivers and carriers cannot afford to take the risk that they used to. If they do, there are likely to be “interventions” from the FMCSA and that is something that carriers just don’t want to have to deal with.

For a link to the full report, click here


  1. I will not submit to an inspection at any scales or from a traffic stop. I will exercise my 4th amendment right. I will place my phone which has a voice recorder on the counter and informed the officer of the voice recorder. I will try to convince the officer of my rights in a polite manner and if the officer violates my rights I will bring that argument to court.

    Any officer will say he has probable cause to do the inspection, I'll say you need to bring the probable cause to a judge and get a warrant. I will bring in my shipping papers log book, but to be detained for more than 10 or 15 minutes would be unreasonable.

    The 4th Amendment
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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