In my “Feeling the heat” piece — part of the regulatory package of stories that’s featured in the March Overdrive — about certain Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 pilot test carriers’ experience with the new comprehensive enforcement system, which goes live nationwide in July, there’s a lengthy sidebar dedicated to issues of fairness and accountability. Many drivers and carriers alike are bristling at the real-time points-based system’s addition of points immediately to a carrier’s score for problems with loads, for instance, that drivers are not able to see being loaded; for accidents where there is no fault assigned on-site; or where it’s clear the big-rig driver was on the wrong end of somebody else’s unsafe party (“If I’m stopped at a stoplight and some idiot drunk with a carload of people crashes into the back of my trailer, I’m cited for four injuries in that crash,” said Dart Safety Vice President Gary Volkman).
The full text of the story can be read in our digital edition, and I’d recommend it for a look into what’s coming. Here, I thought I’d take a moment to highlight the remarks of one Steve Bugg (pictured), a company driver for Kennesaw Transportation, who had some questions of his own for FMCSA about how exactly the agency planned to allow for drivers’ records in their internal driver-rating system to be cleared of speeding tickets thrown out in court, not to mention the fact that, under CSA 2010, a simple speeding warning will count toward carriers’ scores, giving that warning, in the end, a much bigger weight than it’s ever had in the past.
Kennesaw, under the CSA 2010 pilot test program in Georgia, experienced FMCSA interventions and changed their policy toward driver speeding infractions to include warnings, for instance, as other carriers out there have done as well.
Bugg took those changes in stride, as have other drivers, seeing clearly the increased cooperation between drivers/leased owner-operators and their carriers that CSA 2010 is necessitating. However, he also echoes a commonly held point of view among drivers about the seeming “guilty until proven innocent” nature of being held accountable in carrier safety scores for roadside observations that don’t carry any due process of law with them. My video interview with him (below)makes these points clear.
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