CSA 2010: The dataIt seems like nowadays, everywhere you turn, some group, business or government entity is collecting data on you.
Credit agencies record your every financial move. Grocery stores track your every purchase with their “shopper cards.” And, now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is going to collect every single mark made on inspection reports and from crash reports.
FMCSA will calculate safety performance of motor carriers – which includes owner-operators running under their own authority – based on seven Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. Those seven categories, dubbed BASICs, and the federal regulations they relate to are:
•Unsafe driving (Parts 392 and 397);
•Fatigued driving (Parts 392 and 395);
•Driver fitness (Parts 383 and 391);
•Controlled substances/alcohol (Parts 382 and 392);
•Vehicle Maintenance (Parts 393 and 396);
•Cargo related (Parts 392, 393, 397 and hazmat); and
Data from those seven areas will be collected from inspections and crash reports.
Things will change dramatically in how information from inspection reports is handled. While the current system only calculates a safety fitness rating based on “out-of-service” and moving violations, that won’t be the case with CSA 2010. All violations included on inspections will be entered – no matter if it was an out-of-service violation or not.
Another significant change from the current enforcement system CSA 2010 will also be collecting data on individual drivers – although drivers will only encounter enforce action if the motor carrier is subject to an intervention.
Records on individual drivers will contain three years worth of data gleaned from inspection and incident reports. The data will follow the driver no matter how many companies he or she works for.
Access to a driver’s profile will not be restricted to safety inspectors – who will have roadside access to those records. Motor carriers are also going to be allowed to review inspection data in the pre-employment screening process.
The database will hold 24 months of citation and violation data on motor carriers and 36 months for drivers.
All of this data will be housed and maintained by a third-party vendor, not FMCSA. NIC Technologies based in Olathe, KS, was awarded the contract in mid-October 2009.
According to FMCSA, if a motor carrier or a driver wants to review their profile, the only options are to contact the third party vendor or file a Freedom of Information Act request with FMCSA.
NIC’s press release announcing the awarding of the contract stated that the company anticipates charging motor carriers a subscription fee of $100 per year for access to driver profiles and a $10 transaction fee for each record pulled. Drivers will not be charged the annual subscription fee; however, additional fees will be charged for fax or mail requests.
CSA 2010: The point system FMCSA officials have assigned weighted values for various violations that may have noted on inspections or on crash reports. It important to note that these weighted values will then be time weighted, divided by relevant inspections and separated into peer groups.
That will determine a motor carrier’s percentile ranking showing its compliance in a certain BASIC category. That percentile ranking will be the number that FMCSA is watching – not the individual weighted point totals – to determine if an intervention is in order.
Here’s a sampling of some of the point values.
Violation (reg) Points
•Following too close – 392.2 5
•Violating OOS order – 392.5(c)(2) 10
•60/70-hour rule – 395.1(o) 7
•Failure to include driver signature
or certification in duty status records – 395.8(d)(5) 2
•Failure to list main office address
in duty status records – 395.8(d)(7) 2
•Driver failing to retain previous
•7 days’ logs – 395.8(k)(2) 5
•No medical certificate – 391.41(b)(3) 1
•Inoperative tail lamp – 393.9(a) 6
•Failure to display current CVSA Decal:
Permanent Authority – 365.511 4
•Periodic inspection – 396.21 4
The full list of violations can be found here starting on Page 36 of the document.
CSA 2010: The enforcementYou could probably flip a coin to decide which scares a motor carrier more – a full-blown, on-site compliance review or an IRS audit.
Neither one is a pleasant experience. They are both lengthy, burdensome processes.
The on-site compliance review – currently pretty much FMCSA’s only tool in its enforcement arsenal – is such an involved process that with current staffing levels, fewer than 2 percent of the motor carriers in the country are audited each year.
That too will change with the launch of CSA 2010.
After all of the violations are entered, chewed up and spit out of the CSA 2010 Safety Management System, motor carriers will be rated in all of the BASIC compliance areas. The higher the ranking percentile, the more noncompliant the motor carrier. These rankings will be updated on a continual basis.
Those rankings will help FMCSA enforcement personnel determine what method of enforcement – now called interventions – to pick. Enforcement will no longer be a one-size-fits-all scenario.
Enforcement can be triggered by:
•One or more deficient BASICs,
•A high crash indicator, or
•A complaint or fatal crash.
Intervention selection is influenced by safety performance, hazardous material or passenger carrier status, intervention history and investigator discretion.
Interventions include early contact in the form of a warning letter; carrier access to safety data and measurement information (where you can see your own rating increasing, making it easier to get ahead of the problem); and targeted roadside inspections. Enforcement steps up from there with investigations, which include off-site investigations, on-site focused investigations, and on site-comprehensive investigations.
Finally, to make sure compliance is achieved and maintained, FMCSA officials implemented “follow-on” interventions. These include the following:
•A cooperative safety plan – implemented by the carrier and voluntary. The carrier and FMCSA work together to create a plan, based on a standard template, to address the underlying problems that cause the motor carrier’s substandard compliance.
•Notice of violation – a formal notice of safety deficiencies that requires a response. It’s a stopgap measure of sorts. The violations are bad enough for enforcement, just not bad enough for a fine. FMCSA will also use it when violations can be immediately corrected and the motor carriers are in full cooperation to fix the problems.
•Notice of claim. This is where fines are assessed.
•And, finally, a settlement agreement. This is a contract negotiated with the carrier that addresses the safety problem, defers or reduces penalties, or terminates enforcement proceedings.
The trick to the interventions is that FMCSA enforcement personnel can start the enforcement process anywhere along that ladder of enforcement. It does not necessarily start with a letter and progress through the steps.
The higher the risk posed by the motor carrier’s lack of compliance, the more likely it is to face stiff enforcement in lieu of a warning letter. On the flip side, if the non-compliance is not as severe, the warning letter may be all that’s needed to let the motor carriers know there is an issue, giving them the chance to fix it.
On the driver’s side of CSA 2010, FMCSA enforcement officials will be able to review a driver’s record across multiple employers. They will also be able to see drivers with severe violations when they are in the process of conducting intervention enforcement on the motor carriers the driver works for or is leased to.
If the violations and level of non-compliance is bad enough, individual drivers will face the notice of violation or notice of claim – which is the fine – just like motor carriers.
March 16, 2010 PrintSaveE-mailSize: +/–CSA 2010: The rubThe new compliance enforcement program put together by FMCSA is clever in its concept that enforcement will be triggered by performance.
The way data is handled and considered, it weights behaviors that pose the greatest risks to truckers and highway safety. Ultimately, it’s about reducing the number of big truck-related injuries and fatalities even more.
The linchpin of the entire system is the data. And that is the one area raising the most concern at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
The data is going to include all violations noted on inspection reports and crash reports.
The information entered is not limited to just convictions. Citations and warnings – as long as they are noted on the inspection reports – will all be included in the database and calculated to figure the safety rating.
Tickets that are not included on an inspection report, however, will not be entered into the CSA 2010 database.
“The fact that all violations, rather than convictions, are being entered into this system sets drivers up to be accused, tried and convicted on the roadside by enforcement personnel,” said OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig.
Craig said FMCSA officials have repeatedly been questioned about their insistence on including citations that have not been proven through some sort of legal process.
“The lack of due process for drivers to challenge the legitimacy of violations is completely irrational,” Craig said. “It flies in the face of the premise of innocent until proven guilty.”
In addition to the presumption of guilt, OOIDA is concerned about the quality of the data being entered into the system. And rightfully so.
It is a lot of data. The carrier portion of the database will carry 24 months of inspections and crash reports. The driver profiles will contain 36 months of data.
By FMCSA’s math, the two databases contain 690,000 motor carrier profiles and 3.6 million driver profiles with data from approximately 26.2 million inspections and 730,000 crash records.
Factor in the fact that all of that data is coming in from law enforcement agencies from all around the country in states with different reporting procedures and one can’t help but wonder how accurate all of that data can be.
FMCSA has been working closely with states since 2004 to shore up reporting of violations. In 2004, fewer than half of the states and DC were classified as being “good” or “green” states. A total of 14 states were rated “poor” or “red” states.
In five years, 32 states are now classified as good. But 14 remain in the fair category, with five still languishing in the poor category.
Drawing from an old computer adage – garbage in, garbage out. If the data is not entered properly or not entered at all, it seems inevitable that motor carrier and driver compliance records may not be completely accurate.
Currently, motor carriers can challenge information contained in their safety profiles through a system called Data Qs. Craig said that most of the time, carriers find that challenging data rarely results in the error being corrected.
“FMCSA will reach out to the state that entered the information, and all it takes is for the state to reject the claim of inaccuracy. Case closed,” Craig said.
It also seems that motor carriers and drivers are being treated significantly different. For starters, motor carriers only have to worry about two years worth of data. Drivers will lug around three years of inspection violations and crash reports following them around.
“There has to be a simple, effective process for drivers and motor carriers to challenge erroneous information,” Craig said. “We know from years of experience that law enforcement doesn’t always get it right. Without accurate data and due process, it sets the system up to fail miserably.”
– By Jami Jones, senior editor