Trucking Industry Regulations Continue to Change
by Apex Capital | May 28, 2013
A ton of new, controversial rules governing the trucking industry has gone into effect, causing mixed reactions among industry executives and leaders.
The regulations are part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) effort to improve its relatively new Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program, which aims to prevent crashes and other safety problems by tracking data on truckers.
Though trucking industry professionals have generally been supportive of rules aimed at minimizing safety hazards, many have questioned the methodology behind CSA and claim it paints an inaccurate picture of drivers sometimes.
Problems with CSA
They say the new rules, meant to address issues with CSA, are not enough and the program needs further improvements.
For example, CSA records information on past crashes drivers have been involved in, but does not differentiate between crashes the driver caused and those caused by someone else. It can make a careful truck driver who was simply unlucky appear unsafe, critics such as motor carrier lobbying groups say.
Consequences for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers deemed unsafe can be subject to additional inspections and rules, warning letters and orders to cease operations, according to the FMCSA’s website. A CSA rating can also affect a carrier’s commercial operations, since clients can access the scores.
The FMSCA has stated it believes CSA is good for the transportation industry, but welcomes feedback and suggestions for improvement. Last year it extended a deadline for trucking industry officials to comment on new rules. That period has ended and the updated rules are being enforced.
Some of the major changes you should be aware of include:
1. Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) by incorporating cargo/load securement violations from the Cargo-Related BASIC.
2. Changing the Cargo-Related BASIC to the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC to better identify HM-related safety and compliance problems.
3. Modifying the SMS display to: 1. Change current terminology, “inconclusive” and “insufficient data,” to fact-based descriptions. 2. Separate crashes with injuries from crashes with fatalities.
4. Removing 1 to 5 mph speeding violations.