For years, federal regulators lacked a proactive approach to preventing truck accidents. This year, with the step-by-step introduction of CSA 2010, or Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, that is finally changing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created CSA 2010 to improve safety regulations for the trucking and motor carrier industry. Prior to CSA 2010, only 2 percent of motor carriers in the U.S. received thorough, onsite compliance reviews.
CSA is a safety monitoring program that uses seven points called Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICS) and a scoring system to record each participant’s BASICS scores. The FMCSA has announced that the agency will be using a data collection and processing system called Safety Measurement System (SMS) instead of Safestat, the system previously chosen. Each BASIC category is measured with varying levels of severity depending on the circumstances of each violation.
Many of the proposed changes to the CSA will occur in the cargo-related safety category, which evaluates safety procedures regarding loading cargo and hazardous materials. FMCSA has admitted that the cargo-related category currently overpowers the system and could cause a misleading safety status.
Another important change to the CSA initiative is that commercial drivers will have individual SMS scores in addition to the carriers they work for. These scores will reflect how long each driver will remain employed on the road and will affect how companies hire drivers.
Both carriers and drivers are able to access their SMS scores as well as the records and reports that lead to their scores. However, FMCSA is now considering keeping some carriers’ scores and records withheld from the public. The agency is waiting to review the findings of a current study on the possible impacts of publicly releasing the information.
Poor SMS safety scores will allow FMCSA to identify which carriers need intervention and which carriers aren’t safe enough to continue to operate. FMCSA intervention can vary from a warning letter to a full, onsite compliance review. FMCSA recommends carriers and drivers to refer to the CSA 2010 website to view their scores and other relevant information.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, or a family member has been killed, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.