Here we go again, more CSA 2010! As most of you know, the FMCSA has pushed back the launch date (when CSA actually replaces SafeStat) until late November or early December. As most of you also know, it really doesn’t matter because everything is still counting. They are tweeking it somewhat as the result of feedback from drivers, carriers and industry groups. This is an enormous undertaking. From the interaction I’ve had with many of the FMCSA folks involved in this over the past several years, I know that they want to get it right. They are charged with keeping commercial vehicles safe and they take that mission very seriously. CSA has its drawbacks, they are aware of them, and some changes will be made.

One big change is that it appears that the points for speeding will be revised. Warnings will still count, but the officer may have to note the speed (many don’t currently) and the severity points may vary, say from 1-4 mph over, 5-9 mph over, 10-14 mph over and 15+ over, or something like that. It isn’t out yet, but that appears to be where they are headed. There is one caveat, however. Even if these revisions go into effect, they will not be retroactive. Warnings for speeding currently cost you and Mercer 15 points (5×3). We are stuck with what we have now. Don’t speed, 15 points is a big hit which cannot be successfully protested.

Here are some facts about Mercer’s fleet. Of our DOT writeups, 42% are driver controllable. Of these, 12% are speeding and 30% are observable defects. Basically, that means that an officer either saw the truck speeding, or saw something wrong with the truck and/or driver. An observable defect on our fleet is generally a driver not wearing a seatbelt, a light (generally a headlight) not working, a 4″strap with cuts in it, not enough straps or chains (particularly missing the extra one on the front bundle or within the first five feet), and/or dark window tint. These things, more than anything else, get us pulled over on the roadside.

Now, here’s what that means: When you look at the above, and apply CSA points to them, a whopping 82% of the CSA points assessed are driver controllable. Of these points, 15% are speeding, and 68% are observable defects. Observable defects are a big deal and are almost always preventable by the driver. I understand that headlights and other lights burn out, but the other things require drivers to simply get them right. That is the CSA standard carriers and drivers are all required to meet.

As far as where Mercer units get inspected, here are the top six, in most to least order: California, Texas, New Mexico, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina. The two states most likely to issue warnings for speeding are Indiana and Tennessee. If you are trucking in these states, be prepared. We don’t need excuses, we need clean inspections. We don’t need speeding violations or log problems.

CSA 2010 requires absolute obedience to speed limits. It requires absolute attention to detail. We can’t just say we are the best……..CSA 2010 requires us to prove it day after day, every driver, every trip. Be smart. Be safe.