While the rate of fatal truck accidents have decreased since the 1970s, federal and state enforcement agencies recognize inadequacies in existing monitoring and intervention protocols. As a result, law enforcement, the national trucking industry and the federal government had anticipated the launch of the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA 2010). Born out of a successful 18-month pilot program, the goal of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) national safety initiative is to reduce crashes and fatalities and target safety issues in the trucking industry. The program launched December 12, 2010.
CSA focuses on measuring safety performance, evaluating high-risk behaviors and tailoring more effective intervention. Since the pilot, many trucking industry stakeholders, including the American Trucking Association (ATA), continue to have concerns about various aspects of the program.
Earlier this year, concerns focused on the impact safety ratings for ATA members and possible creation of unfair and unnecessary scrutiny for trucking companies. By November, the FMCSA announced that some changes to the program would be made, based on law enforcement and industry feedback. Proposed changes include Safety Management System (SMS) data display and amendments for compliance measures for cargo-related categories, including hazardous materials and load securement procedures. However, some trucking associations, some expedited carriers and small trucking companies failed in their attempt to legally delay the public release of safety scores.
Under the CSA, commercial carriers will be subjected to new monthly safety fitness determinations and be expected to adapt and develop their internal processes and, at times, technologies to meet the demands of these new guidelines. Under the new SMS, evaluations of various categories, entitled Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), companies will be reviewed on driver fitness, unsafe driving, fatigued driving, vehicle maintenance, alcohol or controlled substance use, crash history and cargo loading or securement.
The launch of the FMSCA's newest accountability program will not only save lives, but also make America's highways safer. However, the impact of the new regulations might not be realized for some time.