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Federal CSA Enforcement Program Continues to Baffle Truck Drivers

In 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) developed the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative as a way to improve commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety and reduce truck crashes, injuries and deaths on the highways. Though the FMCSA had previously implemented other safety and compliance programs, like compliance review (CR) and SafeStat, CSA was developed to build on previous processes and provide a better system.

However, a new study indicates the message FMCSA was hoping to spread is getting lost in translation. According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), most truck drivers are confused by the program and are concerned they may lose their jobs as a result of the initiative.

Myths and Misunderstandings

After surveying 4,555 U.S. truck drivers, ATRI released a report detailing driver attitudes and concerns about the CSA initiative. The results indicate that common CSA myths and misperceptions are driving the fear and uncertainty so prevalent among commercial vehicle drivers. Many truck drivers believe that:

  • Personal driving records are counted in SMS
  • Tickets are included in FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) calculations
  • CSA allows the FMCSA to revoke a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Trucking companies inherit past violations from new hires
  • FMCSA regulations have changed due to CSA

In reality, SMS does not count personal driving records nor are traffic tickets part of SMS calculations. The CSA does not grant FMCSA the authority to revoke a license or remove a driver from his or her job. Further, trucking carriers’ records are only impacted by inspections incurred by drivers under their authority. Finally, FMCSA regulations have not been changed by the implementation of CSA.

Ed Crowell, Georgia Motor Trucking Association President and CEO stated that, “ATRI’s study clearly points out that motor carriers, state trucking associations and FMCSA collectively need to do more to educate drivers about CSA and what it does and doesn’t mean for the jobs.”

Despite the FMCSA’s efforts to improve commercial motor vehicle safety via the new CSA initiative, truck drivers’ concerns are an alarm in and of itself that could potentially jeopardize others on the road.