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CSA is off and running

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
December 16, 2010

While it is clearly too early to put a number on it, more than one person has told me in the last year that available trucking capacity is heading down, due to three letters: CSA.

Chances are you have read about CSA (Comprehensive Safety Analysis) 2010, a procedure which dictates how the federal government rates trucking companies and drivers.

As LM Contributing Editor John Schulz reported, CSA stands to be the toughest safety crackdown on the estimated 3 million long-haul truck drivers and 800,000 carriers in the history of the industry and is expected to perhaps eliminate as much as 5 percent of trucking capacity as the “worst of the worst” drivers are banned from interstate trucking.

Make no mistake, it is a major endeavor. You already knew that though.

If you are wondering how CSA works. It is along these lines: It uses all crash records and all roadside inspection data are used and assigned weights to time and severity of violations. It then calculates a safety performance based on seven basic standards that replaces the previous SafeStat system. This also will include specific driver information. A low score will trigger an intervention process that will eventually feed into FMCSA’s evaluation.

The seven basic standards are: unsafe driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness, drugs/alcohol, vehicle maintenance, cargo related, and crash indicator. And it also homes in on all on-the-road safety-based inspections resulting in moving violations, whereas SafeStat focused on inspections resulting in moving violations or requiring a vehicle or driver removed from service until a violation was cured, according to a research report by Jon Langenfeld, transportation analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co.

Langenfeld’s report showed that some of the bigger names in the industry received alerts for a CSA violation, including unsafe driving, driver fitness, drugs/alcohol, and vehicle maintenance.

These early results are living proof that CSA has officially moved from something which carrier executives preached about throughout 2010 at industry conferences to what could be viewed as “the new reality,” when it comes to managing capacity and hiring drivers. In other words, things that will have a direct—and significant—impact on shippers and carriers.

What’s more, chances are available hours-of-service are also going to decline sooner than later, which means there will be less time to move freight in an already stressed freight transportation environment.

Regardless of the estimates for how many drivers are forced to exit the industry due to CSA (most current estimates range from low single digits to up to ten percent), it is hard to dispute the facts on this: freight rates will go higher in conjunction with carriers having to pay top dollar to qualified drivers, whom were already in short supply prior to CSA 2010 going live.

In what ways will CSA 2010 impact your supply chain operations? Newsroom Notes wants to hear from you.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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