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CSA -- Who is impacted and how?

May 29, 2016

So far in this series we’ve discussed what CSA is  and how CSA scores are calculated. This week we discuss who is impacted by CSA and how.

CSA prt3.jpgWhat impact is it having on Drivers?

Even though there were no new rules for drivers under CSA, it created new accountability. Although the government doesn’t publish a rating of each driver’s personal safety performance there could be fines or corrections issued to individual drivers if their employer were investigated. Because of the program a driver with a proven safety record is more valuable to their employer than ever. And that, along with improved safety on our highways, is perhaps the most exciting part of CSA.  

CSA’s most significant impact has been on drivers’ approach to safety. They know there is a score for them and that what they do behind the wheel can have a detrimental impact on their ability to remain employed in the future. Poor performance on the road could seriously impact their career. They are ultimately responsible for the vehicle’s condition and how safe it is to operate. 

As stated above, CSA has increased the level of accountability for drivers. Here's how: 

Affects employer's rating. Safety data (violations and crashes) are reported to the driver's employer (carrier), and they become part of the carrier's safety rating for 36 months. And while carriers do not inherit the points a driver acquired before driving for them, any violations the driver incurs remain on their employer's record for 36 months even if the driver leaves or is terminated.

Affects Driver SMS record, and could lead to more consequences. The driver's safety history remains as part of their record in the Driver SMS for 36 months. This data is not available to the public, but it allows safety investigators to evaluate driver safety performance even across multiple employers. The result is that unsafe drivers can no longer avoid detection or consequences by changing carriers. And if investigations reveal violations, FMCSA can take direct enforcement action against the driver, such as issuing a NOV (Notice of Violation) or NOC (Notice of Claim).

Affects PSP record. The driver's safety history remains for 36 months as part of the PSP (Pre-Employment Screening Program) record, which could be seen by prospective future employers. The PSP is a voluntary program, though, so drivers must consent to allow prospective employers to see the record (although some carriers may require it as a condition of employment). Current employers can't view the PSP record at all.

What impact is CSA having on Carriers?

If a carrier’s trucking operation exceeds CSA BASIC thresholds, not only could it be targeted for FMCSA intervention, they could see their insurance premiums rise and shippers bypass their passenger, freight, or HazMat transportation services in favor of a safer bet.

Some carriers have been effected more than others. If the carrier had great safety practices in place already and an excellent safety rating, the program simply enforced safety best practices that were already in place. They’re also using CSA data as an added tool. Carriers who didn’t have many or any safety rules in place and perhaps didn’t or don’t have a good safety rating as a result of CSA have changed their practices and the way that they operate to improve their safety ratings. The CSA program has enhanced their approach to safety and they now track it regularly. 

Many carriers are also making major changes as a result of CSA. Carriers bear the brunt of the responsibility when it comes to safety measures, as their businesses have the most to lose—and gain—as a result of their safety ratings and scores.

CSA requires motor carriers to pay more attention to their safety records simply because there is more data readily available.  FMCSA can take a broader range of enforcement actions, and the CSA data affects a variety of business concerns, such as obtaining a special permit under hazmat regulations.

They start by understanding their risks, the causes of their crashes and claims, and any negative CSA data.  Once they identify the root causes, they can implement processes, procedures, and equipment changes to minimize the risk of those claims.

Many carriers have also begun evaluating driver applicants' safety records using the FMCSA's Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), which provides electronic access to driver crash and inspection history. That transparency has reduced the number of applicants they consider, allowing them to develop a safer pool of drivers.

Some carriers have also terminated drivers because of bad CSA scores, and used the scores as a means to coach and reprimand drivers at their first violation.

Carriers are even using outside consultants to manage all the data provided to them so they can identify where the problems are occurring and correct the behavior. 

How are Shippers impacted?

Some shippers are concerned about using a carrier that will transport their freight safely, and they want to protect their interests. This makes them glad that CSA is in place. 

Part 4 of this series will be posted on June 6th. There we will discuss industry concerns about the CSA program and what’s happening with it now. 

For assistance with any aspect of your shipping contact American Group at 1-866-553-6608 for a quote or to learn how we make Shipping.Simplified.