Feature Article: New tools help power CSA 2010

Avery Vise | March 01, 2010

New tools help power CSA 2010

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Carriers and law enforcement officials soon will have easier access to drivers’ records.

Although Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 on its own represents a major advance in enforcing federal motor carrier safety regulations, a couple of new information tools add teeth to the process.

PRE-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING PROGRAM. This aims to close one of the biggest holes in the driver recruiting process. Today, a trucking company has no reliable way of assessing a prospective driver’s inspection history, including hours-of-service compliance. Nearly five years ago, Congress ordered the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to provide that information to employers.

In October, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it planned to launch the driver pre-employment screening program in December. Its implementation has been delayed, apparently due to concerns over data management and privacy, but its release is expected this spring.

For a small fee, carriers will be able to obtain driver performance data from FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System. This includes roadside inspection and compliance review results, enforcement data, state-reported crashes and motor carrier census data. Drivers must give written consent for their records to be released.

Although the driver pre-employment screening program is not directly related to CSA 2010, it will help carriers avoid drivers who could be serious liabilities under CSA 2010.

COMPASS PROGRAM. This represents a major modernization of FMCSA’s information technology. FMCSA rolled out the first phase of COMPASS – known as the FMCSA Portal – in 2007. It gave nearly 10,000 federal and state law enforcement personnel access to comprehensive safety data in one place. Carriers can use the portal also to improve their insight into problem drivers and equipment.

In December, FMCSA marked the next major phase in COMPASS by releasing a mobile client application that could give law enforcement personnel in the field real-time access to carrier, vehicle and driver information. This capability could allow a state trooper to discover, for example, that a driver he just pulled over has a disqualifying offense and should not be driving.

Beginning in July, the mobile client application is scheduled to be updated to incorporate CSA 2010 interventions and performance scores. n