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Editor's Journal

Randy Grider | November 01, 2010

It’s Here

Randy Grider is editor of Truckers News. He is the son of a career trucker and holds a CDL. He blogs regularly at Write him at

Whether you’re ready or not, CSA 2010 goes live at the end of the month

After many months of hype, confusion and educational efforts, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is ready to roll out its new safety compliance program. Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, better known as CSA 2010, is set to go live at the end of the month.

While it will take awhile to become fully implemented, some immediate things will occur with the rollout. First, the Safety Measurement System (SMS), based on roadside inspections, state-reported crashes and violations fed into the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), will replace SafeStat, and carriers’ safety ratings in six of the seven BASICs will be made available to the public, including insurance companies and shippers. FMCSA and states will prioritize their enforcement using the SMS.

Second, carriers that show significant safety problems will begin receiving warning letters starting next month. The letters are the first step in FMCSA’s intervention process under CSA 2010. The goal is for carriers to use the information in the warning letters to address problems and make corrective improvements.

Despite all the hoopla surrounding CSA 2010 (soon to be shortened to CSA), many carriers, according to FMCSA, have shown little interest in reviewing their safety ratings in the BASICs, which became available to them earlier this year. Perhaps it’s due to many smaller operations feeling they have enough on their plate with day-to-day operations, or maybe many are still confused about how the system will work.

Admittedly, there is still a lot of misinformation being bantered about among some fleet personnel and drivers concerning CSA 2010. So much that FMCSA has gone to great strides to address both myths and answer frequently asked questions on its CSA 2010 micro-site,

Just a few items that may be helpful under FMCSA’s “Just the Facts” header are:

• CSA 2010 does not give FMCSA the authority to remove 175,000 drivers from their jobs and cannot be used to rate drivers or to revoke a CDL. Only state agencies responsible for issuing licenses, CDL or otherwise, have the authority to suspend them.

• Traffic violations or warnings CDL holders receive while operating their personal vehicles do not count in the scores.

• Carriers will not inherit any of a newly hired driver’s past violations. Only those inspections that a driver receives while driving under a carrier’s authority can be applied to a carrier’s SMS.

• All inspections and crashes a driver receives while under the authority of a carrier will remain part of the carrier SMS data for two years, unless overturned, even if the carrier fires the driver.

• Neither FMCSA nor CSA 2010 currently has any rules that restrict who can be a CDL driver based on body mass index, weight or neck size.

• The carrier safety rating process that determines whether FMCSA will deem a carrier “unfit” is currently in rulemaking to potentially change to a new process called Safety Fitness Determination.

• Potentially erroneous violations on carrier/driver records can be submitted for review using the DataQs system (, which does not change under CSA 2010.

Look for a free copy of the CSA 2010 Driver’s Handbook, brought to you by the editors of Truckers News and Overdrive, at most major truckstops that distribute this magazine.

• FMCSA’s new Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) is not a part of CSA 2010. PSP is only available to carriers as a pre-screening tool (drivers who have opted in can view their own profiles) and is not for use in evaluating current drivers.

FMCSA also points out that neither carriers nor drivers are required to register for CSA 2010. Nor is there any kind of mandatory training requirement. However, it is in everyone’s best interest to be as informed as possible concerning CSA 2010. It is a major shift in how FMCSA will deal with carriers and drivers from this point forward. Those who have prepared for CSA 2010 already have a leg up on their peers. But it’s not too late to play catch-up. In fact, it’s your responsibility to do so.

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