Large commercial trucks such as buses and bucket trucks from a bucket truck sale can cause massive damage in the event of a crash. To prevent this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, created a new nationwide system to make the nation’s roads safer. In December of 2010, the new system that is called “Compliance, Safety, Accountability” (or CSA), was implemented. The goal of this initiative was to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by commercial motor vehicles and to protect commuters and pedestrians.
Before this initiative was introduced, federal and state enforcement agencies had effectively reduced the number of commercial motor vehicle crashes for a long period of time. Due to the increase in the vehicles requiring governmental regulation, the old system that was being used was just no longer effective. Something had to change.
Although CSA was only introduced by the FMCSA in December of 2010, two years were spent to plan and develop it before it was officially implemented. This involved a thorough review of the old compliance review process, the development of the Safety Measurement System (or SMS) as well as the interventions toolbox that would deal with problems identified in the SMS. The new system and intervention box for CSA were put to the test in various locations including Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, and New Jersey in February of 2008.
The former compliance review program used by FMCSA was resource intensive and could only cater to a small fraction of the commercial motor vehicles’ population. Before this was implemented, determining a commercial truck’s safety sufficiency could take three to four days to complete. This delay greatly reduced FMCSA’s capacity to perform compliance review (CR) on all of its registered commercial motor vehicles.
CSA is not entirely new as it can be considered as a “make-over” of the old system used by the FMCSA. The model used for the new initiative was still based on the early enforcement and compliance process but was remodeled to provide a much more accurate picture of how commercial motor vehicles carriers, as well as their drivers, were complying with safety rules set by FMCSA and to sanction those who were not meeting the required parameters. With the new system, one can expect an efficient and targeted intervention with the help of the new safety measurement system as well as the improved evaluation tools.
With the newly implemented CSA, measurements of both the driver and the carrier are recorded after each inspection. This data is constantly updated every 30 days to determine an overall evaluation score, which is the total of violations observed on every road side inspection as well as accidents and out-of-service (OOS) violations.
The score one can earn ranges from 0 -100. The more violations that are observed, the higher the number gets, so drivers should always aim for the low digits. The score is determined by the number of violations, as well as the number of roadside inspections. No infractions on a roadside inspection are a good inclusion in an evaluation as it raises the number inspections to be divided by the number of times violations were found. Therefore, if you have ten roadside inspections and have accumulated three violations, that is a thirty percent roadside infraction score.
Roles of Motor Carriers and Drivers
CSA was implemented for the safety of commercial trucks as well as everyone else on the road. Despite the imposed regulations, there is nothing that drivers should do that is out of the ordinary. Responsible drivers should always aim to keep their trucks safe through proper inspection on vital truck components, like brakes and lights, while keeping the truck’s overall condition in top shape. Cargo should always be kept well secured and driving speed should be maintained within the limits. It is the role of both the carrier and the driver to ensure that all commercial motor vehicles are operated in the safest manner possible. It is the role of both to make sure that there are no safety problems occurring, certainly on any regular basis. Working together, a goal of achieving fewer crashes of large commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers and buses can be reached. That will make the roads and highways safer for every vehicle using them!