May 2011 | Commentary | Viewpoint

The Surprising Upside to CSA 2010

Tags: Trucking, Legislation, Public Policy, and Regulations, Safety

David Strand is president and CEO, Wholesale Truck & Finance. 248-340-6175

When it comes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s guidelines known as CSA 2010, the trucking industry has focused on its potential drawbacks, including job losses for truckers and other challenges for carriers. While such issues do exist, there are also opportunities for drivers, carriers, and shippers to benefit from the rules’ move to assign points for safety violations and require better driver conduct.

CSA 2010 addresses driver safety issues such as unsafe and fatigued driving, controlled-substance abuse, crash indicators, vehicle maintenance, and improper cargo loading. Your carriers should discuss safety measures and CSA requirements in training sessions with drivers to ensure they understand the guidelines.

The Silver Lining

Complying with CSA 2010 guidelines can result in fewer fines, penalties, and other costs. And by improving their safety rating, drivers can decrease the insurance premiums they are charged.

The guidelines are likely to become a widely regarded measurement tool. Be sure to ask your carrier if it employs drivers that meet CSA 2010 guidelines. Request reports on driver safety records to ensure your shipments are traveling with reputable drivers.

Industry Growth Expected

Undeniably, drivers who do not immediately qualify under the guidelines may find themselves out of a job. As many as 175,000 drivers could lose their jobs or clients, according to some estimates. This projection may seem ominous for shippers buying transportation services, but there will be an upswing. The trucking business in the United States and Canada is expected to increase as the economy improves.

Between 2011 and 2018, job opportunities for truck drivers and driver/sales workers are anticipated to increase by nine percent; heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are anticipated to increase by 13 percent; and light or delivery services truck drivers will increase by four percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11.

As new truck drivers join the workforce, shippers and carriers can ensure they know who they are working with by accessing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Pre-employment Screening Program. This driver safety database reports 36 months of inspection history and 60 months of crash data.

In Good Hands

Carriers will be paying more attention to driver safety records because they risk stiff penalties for hiring drivers classified as “unsafe.” These drivers can also be targets for more roadside inspections. More than ever, carriers will be looking to employ safe drivers.

Shippers benefit from working with carriers who value driver safety. Ask your carrier if it takes steps to improve driver scores and recruit safe drivers. Some carriers have invested in specific driver safety courses or training specific to their own requirements. Others have instituted health screenings and distributed healthy lifestyle tips for drivers.

Despite the controversy surrounding CSA 2010, it is generally agreed that if you’re a good driver today, you’re going to be a good driver under CSA 2010. Seek out carriers that try to attract the highest quality drivers, so you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your shipments are in good hands.