Archive for February, 2010


DWI Changes

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) posted its “Most Wanted List.” The list includes NTSB’s suggested transportation safety improvements for 2009-2010 which require actions to be taken by federal agencies.

According to one recommendation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should:

Eliminate hard core drinking driving by enacting legislation to reduce crashes involving repeat offenders who drink large amounts of alcohol, including:

  • Frequent, statewide sobriety checkpoints.
  • More effective measures (sanctions/treatment) for first time arrests with high blood alcohol concentration and repeat offenders.
  • Zero blood alcohol requirements for those already convicted of driving while intoxicated.
  • Administrative license revocation for refusing to take or failing an evidential test for alcohol.
  • Vehicle sanctions for DWI offenders to separate drinking from driving.
  • Elimination of plea-bargaining DWI offenses and programs that divert offenders and purge offense records.
  • DWI offense records retention for at least 10 years to identify repeat offenders.
  • Special sanction court-based programs such as DWI courts for hard core DWI offenders.

What’s there to think about? Innocent lives are at stake. Just do it. I’m tired of stories of repeat offenders killing people. Do we just let them off until they destroy other lifes? What’s your view?

Down the Road – Mike


Carrier Manager Fined $35,000

On October 15, 2009, Charles D. Goodwin, Inc., (CDGI) doing business as Goodwin’s Trucking Company pled guilty in U.S. District Court, Winston Salem, North Carolina, to charges associated with the falsification of drivers’ duty status logs, which are regulated by FMCSA. CDGI is to be sentenced in May 2010.

The investigation was initiated as a result of an FMCSA compliance review of CDGI following a fatal accident involving one of its drivers. The review revealed that the driver violated FMCSA hours of service regulations but was not at fault for the accident.

DOT/OIG’s investigation determined that between June 2007 and May 2008 CDGI drivers made numerous false entries in their drivers’ duty status logs.  In addition to facing over $35,000 in civil penalties, the plea agreement requires the carrier to install an FMCSA approved computerized monitoring device on all CDGI trucks.

Liability is commonly being placed on carriers and managers of trucking firms. It is important for us to follow the regulations and equally important to make sure those that we are responsible for are doing the same. We need to audit our driver’s logs and communicate with them on any variances.

We audit our driver’s logs weekly and try to communicate to our drivers what they are doing right, along with any adjustments they need to make to stay safe and in compliance. I think it’s a simple task, yet it is important to give constant  feedback, and that takes a concerted effort.

Down the Road – Mike


Victory Lane at Daytona


Daytona day, my wife Tina and her brothers, Dominic and Mario.

There’s a lot that I could say about this long, yet extremely exciting race. Although I enjoyed the entire race with the exception of the red flag delays, the bottom line for me was Victory lane. It was worth the wait.

On the second and final green white restart Jamie McMurray held off Kevin Harvick, Gregg Biffle, and then held off Dale Earnhart Jr., who charged from tenth to second in less than two laps, to win his first Daytona 500 race. I was yelling “Go Jr!”

I think that regardless of who you were pulling for, that the Victory Lane celebration was an awesome scene. Jamie McMurray voiced his humbling appreciation for the opportunity that had been given to him to drive for the Ganassi team. He spoke of his childhood dreams and couldn’t hold back the emotions of winning at Daytona.

It was great to watch the TEAM celebration unfold on TV. The many champagne soaked smiles of joy on everyone’s face in Victory Lane. Just as it should be. Don’t you think?

Down the Road – Mike


New CSA2010 Safety Rating

The new CSA2010 safety rating system, safety measurement system or safety fitness determination system, whatever you want to call it,  is coming soon.

Here are the BIG differences as I see them.

1) Under the old Safestat system only the “out of service” violations were weighted against a carrier’s fitness rating. The CSA2010 will use all safety based violations to effect a carrier’s fitness rating.
2) Although it could be used to randomly trigger an on-site DOT audit, the Safestat rating had no direct impact on a carrier’s safety fitness rating. CSA2010 will use roadside data to adversely affect a carrier’s fitness rating.

Those are the two hard hitting changes. The CSA2010 will also use seven BASIC behaviors where Safestat was organized into four evaluation areas, and violations will be rated by recent dates and crash risk, where current violations will count heavier than older ones.

CSA2010 will make it very important to be pro-active with our CDL drivers in order to prevent violations. We will need to sit down with them now and brief them on the new rating system. Below is a view of my CSA2010 training outline.

Down the Road – Mike


Driver Training Outline:

There are four major elements to CSA 2010 – 1) measurement, 2) intervention, 3) safety evaluation, and information technology, 4) COMPASS.

1)  The measurement system – Will group the safety performance data of motor carriers and drivers into seven categories, called BASICs – Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories.  The seven BASICS are:

                         (1) Unsafe driving,

                         (2) Fatigued Driving,

                         (3) Driver Fitness,

                         (4) Controlled Substances/Alcohol,

                         (5) Vehicle Maintenance,

                         (6) Improper Loading/Cargo, and

                         (7) Crash Indicator.

The data would be scored and weighted based on its relationship to crash causation. Based on a carrier’s score within each BASIC, the measurement system would trigger when the Agency should begin to intervene with a motor carrier, and when its performance has reached the proposed “unfit” threshold.

2)      Intervention – Once the measurement system signals the need to intervene, CSA 2010 would draw upon a broad array of progressive interventions that are designed to advise the motor carrier or driver that their safety performance has come to the government’s attention.  These steps are meant to improve unsafe behavior early.

These include:

> Warning letter

> Targeted Roadside Inspection

> On-Site Investigation – Focused Cooperative Safety Plan Notice of Violation Increasing   Severity On-Site Investigation

> Comprehensive Notice of Claim/Settlement Agreement

3)  Safety Evaluation – Safety fitness determination would be based on performance data processed through the measurement system, and would not necessarily be tied to the current FMCSA compliance review.  Depending on the motor carrier’s BASIC scores, the safety fitness determination could be “continue to operate”, “marginal” (with ongoing intervention), or proposed “unfit”.  Each motor carrier or driver for which there is sufficient data would receive a safety fitness determination that would be updated every 30 days.

4)  Compass – CSA 2010 is closely aligned with COMPASS, an FMCSA –wide initiative that is leveraging new technology to transform the way that FMCSA does business.  By optimizing FMCSA business processes and improving the Agency’s IT functionality, COMPASS will help FMCSA and State enforcement personnel make better decisions, identify high-risk carriers and drivers more effectively, and apply a wider range of interventions to correct high-risk behavior early.

What does CSA2010 mean for drivers? CSA 2010 will provide enhanced tools for Safety Investigators to identify and address drivers with poor safety records as part of motor carrier investigations in order to increase driver accountability for safe driving behavior. So drivers need to perform or they could receive intervention from the DOT.

How is a company’s management involved? One key change was made is in Article 444. They changed one word in the article. It used to say that carriers had a moral and legal obligation to DETECT violations. Now it says they have a moral and legal obligation to PREVENT violations. Additionally, the article used to say that the CEO of the carrier encompassed all the influence over drivers. The article now states that all persons in contact with the drivers have influence. So management now knows their actions or inaction has a significant impact on our safety rating. They can individually be held accountable, not just the CEO.

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