I’m sure everyone is just as sick of reading about CSA 2010 as I am of writing about it. Unfortunately, a lot of folks just do not fully grasp the effect that this thing is going to have on drivers and motor carriers. Some have read about it and are beginning to get their arms around it. Many drivers (and motor carriers) are still just trucking along oblivious to it until it finally goes into effect later this year and hits them like a ton of bricks.

The main thing is that you don’t want anything other than “no violations” noted on an inspection report. Nothing, zip, zero, nada. Any violation noted has a point value that counts against the carrier’s safety rating, the driver’s individual safety rating, or both. Anything counts, everything counts. There are something like 3500+ individual violations from which an officer can choose.

I recently retained one of the CSA 2010 pilot program vendors to place Mercer’s SafeStat data into the CSA 2010 format so I could get an idea what we looked like in that environment.  All in all, we have a great bunch of drivers who are better than most. To put this in perspective, out of more than 1,800 qualified drivers at Mercer, I currently have twelve……twelve on probation for moving violations and/or preventable accidents. That is 0.0067% of our drivers. A pretty safe bunch. Or at least I thought so.

Here’s the shocker……under the 2010 format, I have at least one hundred drivers who potentially could have problems. Not with tickets, not with accidents, but with DOT writeups for “speeding” on their inspection sheets. Or log violations. Or securement violations. Those count. And they count big time. No ticket, not even a warning, not OOS, but just the writeup. The bad thing is, all of this started being compiled in January, 2009. Folks with clean inspections are in good shape. Folks who have been written up for anything in the past year, anything, will be starting out with a problem when CSA 2010 goes live later this year.

Drivers who look to me as those who will be most at risk will be receiving a letter from me within the next couple of months. You will be “invited” to come in, spend some “quality time” with me and look at what I’m seeing, and what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeing, concerning your driving record and safety fitness. We will discuss an appropriate strategy for improving your record and will set a timetable for that to happen. Improvement will not be optional.

The bottom line is this: you need to have clean inspections, period. Out of service or not is no longer the issue. Warning versus ticket is no longer the issue. “No Violations” is the issue. This is a big deal and it is going to change our industry. I encourage everyone to read about this as much as they can and redouble their efforts to run 100% legal at all times. That is the standard of CSA 2010. That is the standard to which we will all be held. That is our new reality.