FMCSA's proposed CSA SMS changes -- one week left to comment

Updated May 14, 2023

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, May 9, 2023:

CSA-change comment period ends May 16

Owner-operators have one more week to comment on proposed changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA carrier Safety Measurement System.

As part of the proposed changes, FMCSA is looking to reorganize the current Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), which the agency plans to renamed simply “safety categories.” FMCSA also proposes to combine the current 959 violations used in SMS, plus 14 additional violations not currently used, into 116 new violation groups.

The agency also planned to moved the Controlled Substances/Alcohol and Operating while Out-of-Service (OOS) violations into the Unsafe Driving category, then splitting the Vehicle Maintenance category in two -- Vehicle Maintenance: Driver Observed and the broader Vehicle Maintenance. The new "Driver Observed" category would be reserved for roadside “violations that could reasonably be observed by a driver” during a pre- or post-trip inspection, “or detected as part of a Walk-Around (Level 2) roadside inspection.”

[Related: FMCSA proposes long-overdue CSA carrier Safety Measurement System revamp]

Another part of the proposed changes is simplifying violation severity weights and adjusting intervention thresholds.

As part of the proposal, FMCSA launched a new website, the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) Prioritization Preview, which allows motor carriers to preview how their data would appear under the proposed changes. Companies are encouraged to preview these results and submit feedback on the proposed changes.

Comments on the proposed changes can be filed here through next Tuesday, May 16. As of May 9, just 128 comments had been filed.

Editors encourage any carrier logging into the preview website to view how the changes impact percentile rankings to reach out to Overdrive or CCJ directly with any perspective on potential impact. 

[Related: Proposed CSA-scores change a mixed bag, particularly for hours of service category]

Hours of service regs waived for certain North Dakota ag haulers

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on May 5 issued a declaration suspending hours of service regulations for drivers transporting “agricultural inputs,” including dry fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, pesticides and seed.

In issuing the order, Burgum cited “a record-breaking snowfall winter season” that has delayed the spring planting season for North Dakota agricultural producers.

“Late winter storms and record-breaking snowfall have resulted in a compressed time frame for planning and treating fields,” Burgum said in a press release, “forcing truck drivers to move greater amounts of agricultural inputs in a shorter amount of time to allow producers to complete planting and other work.”

The waiver is effective through June 4.

[Related: New HOS waiver in Nebraska]

Daimler recalls 3,400 Freightliner, Western Star trucks over electronic stability control issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling more than 3,400 Freightliner and Western Star trucks due to an issue in certain trucks’ electronic stability control systems, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

The recall affects approximately 3,452 short wheelbase 2020-'24 Freightliner Cascadia (manufactured between Aug. 30, 2019, and Feb. 6, 2023) and Freightliner M2 Business Class; 2022 Western Star 4700; and 2020 Freightliner Cascadia (manufactured from Nov. 23-28, 2019) trucks.

The affected units are equipped with an electronic stability control system and tire combination that may understeer during a J-turn. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 136, "Electronic Stability Control Systems on Heavy Vehicles."

The remedy is currently under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 24. Owners may contact DTNA customer service at 800-547-0712 with recall number FL971. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-299.

[Related: More companies, individuals charged for allegedly 'deleting' emissions control systems]

Non-functioning horn prompts recall of five Mack LR Electric garbage trucks

Mack Trucks is recalling five model year 2024 LR Electric garbage trucks equipped with electric horns. The circuit connecting the horn button to the horn is missing, making the horn inoperative.

Dealers will add the necessary circuits to connect the horn button to the horn, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 27. Owners can contact Mack customer service at 1-800-866-1177 with recall number SCC433. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-310.

[Related: Hyundai bringing hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered cabover Class 8 to U.S.]