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Overdrive Staff | December 01, 2011

Their comments came in a “CSA: One Year Later” panel discussion at the Commercial Carrier Journal Fall Symposium in Phoenix. The panel included Jeff Davis of Fleet Safety Services, Arizona Trucking Associations President Karen Rasmussen and Brett Sant, vice president of safety and risk management for Knight Transportation.

Davis says the theory behind CSA was that compliance would result in safer behavior and fewer crashes, while noncompliance would result in riskier behavior and more crashes. “Time will tell us if this theory works,” he says.

Under CSA, safety ratings are supposed to refresh every 30 days for all companies. The previous SAFER system under SafeStat reached only 2 percent of companies and was lengthy and graded administratively, while the new method uses roadside performance.

The driver safety fitness rating has been on the backburner, but is coming back through the pending highway bill. “We could literally be looking at a ranking of every single driver out there,” Davis says.

Under SAFER, companies could pay a fine and move on. “Now, every critical and acute violation in the system” gets monitored for 12 months, Davis says.

The top equipment-related violation is lighting. The biggest driver violation is log book form and manner. A log book not being current ranks second, followed by the driver not being in possession of a medical certificate, a driver not speaking English and hours of service violations.

Rasmussen says Arizona’s new DataQ appeals process involves an appeals board created last January that meets monthly. About 50 percent of appeals are denied.

Sant says that while he agrees with FMCSA’s objectives to reach more carriers, increase driver accountability and improve safety, he says CSA’s Safety Measurement System isn’t a reliable predictor of crashes. He also says many drivers under the gun will shift to carriers that aren’t as scrutinized, leaving the previous carrier holding the “bad grade” bag.

“Is that really safer or fair?” Sant asks.

— Dean Smallwood


Many U.S. bridges deficient, study says

A new report shows more than 18,000 of the nation’s busiest bridges, clustered in the nation’s metropolitan areas, are rated as “structurally deficient,” Transportation for America says.

“The Fix We’re In For: The State of Our Nation’s Busiest Bridges” ranks 102 metro areas in three population categories based on the percentage of deficient bridges.

The report found Pittsburgh had the highest percentage of deficient bridges (30.4 percent) for a metro area with a population of more than 2 million. The city also had the highest percentage among all cities.

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