Archive Page 2


CSA Go Live Date Nears


The slated launch date of December 6th, 2010 for the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) is right around the corner. As that nears the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made some last minute adjustments to the measurement system.

The agency will modify the presentation of SMS BASIC results by:

  • Changing the highlight color from red to orange.
  • Changing the term “Deficient” to “Alert” when a motor carrier’s score in one or more BASICs is above the FMCSA threshold for intervention.
  • Improving the language to clarify that BASIC results signify the carrier is prioritized for an FMCSA intervention.

Feedback during the Data Preview indicated that the display of SMS results needs to clarify that BASIC percentiles above the FMCSA threshold signify the carrier is prioritized for an FMCSA intervention and do not signify or otherwise imply a “safety rating” or safety fitness determination.

The Cargo-Related BASIC will be modified to:

  • Recalibrate the Cargo-Related BASIC by adjusting the cargo securement violation severity weightings based on input from subject matter experts (SMEs).
  • Modify the public display to show the SMS Cargo-Related BASIC violations only. The percentiles and intervention status will not be on public display.

Hopefully the above change will level out the scores for carriers that haul the majority of there loads on floats and lowboys versus carriers that haul mainly closed vans.

To review your CSA scores go here.


Down the Road – Mike


Texting Ban Started October 27, 2010

Today texting while driving for CMV operators becomes part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s list of serious violations that count against a driver’s CDL. In addition, texting while driving carries a 10-point severity weight rating and is a driver responsible offense in CSA 2010.

Fines range from $2,750 for drivers to $11,000 for carriers.

Additional regulatory actions are being sought to restrict the use of cell phones while driving commercial motor vehicles.

Down the Road – Mike


Is a Warning a Violation?

The fast answer is YES. If your commercial vehicle is inspected by the Department of Transportation and the officer writes you a warning, he maybe saving you some money, but any violations (or warnings) listed on the inspection report will appear on your driving record under the new CSA2010. In this case the warning is just an un-cited violation, yet still a violation.

Do yourself a favor, perform a thorough pre-trip and post-trip inspection, and have any deficiencies repaired before you hit the road. Keep some tools, fuses and spare bulbs in your vehicle at all times so you do not give enforcement agencies an obvious reason to pull you over. Expect to be inspected.

Down the Road – Mike


Driver Economics

Do you know any drivers that are out of work? If you do it’s a rarity. There is still a high demand for Commercial Truck Drivers and things are expected to get tighter over the next several years. So, if you know someone that has been out of work for a while you might suggest they get some training and become a commercial truck driver.

Today one in six drivers are above age 55. This is good news for those wanting to enter a field that is already in high demand, because as these professional drivers retire new drivers will be needed to replace them. Estimates have ranged up to one million additional drivers that will be needed through 2025.

More positive news for these professionals is that the number freight loads are at there highest level in several years. With more available loads and fewer drivers, experienced drivers with clean driving records should be able to earn higher salaries.

Need a job? Want to help the economic recovery?

Down the Road – Mike


Is there Anyone That’s Not Distracted?

In my neighborhood I typically drive below the 30 mph speed limit. I do this mainly because I never know when a child, adult, dog, cat, basketball or other object may jump right out in front of my vehicle.

I have also noticed that many people are talking on their cell phones and squeezing in some exercise at the same time, or they may be listening, and singing along, to their MP3 player. I think my favorite is watching dogs taking their humans for a walk, pulling and wagging them sporadically down the road.

It’s not just cars that these pedestrians are ignoring. I have also seen a bicycle vs. pedestrian accident in my neighborhood. Pedestrians in metro areas distracted by cell phone calls and text messages also risk deadly encounters with the transit buses and commuter trains around them.

Some city’s have started awareness campaigns, like Atlanta’s “Stay Focused! Stay Alive!.”

It’s not easy to turn these devices off. People love listening to music on their mp3 players. They want to stay in touch with their friends, their families, their colleagues and clients by texting and talking on their cell phones.

Have you come across this in your neighborhood? Do you think local awareness campaigns are useful for warning distracted people and reducing accidents?

Down the Road – Mike


Another Transportation Fee Doubles

Last week I received a letter from the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration PHMSA letting me know that the Hazardous Materials Registration fee that we paid in June of 2009 for the 2009-2012 period had gone up as of March 30, 2010.

Now we owe an additional $3,200 on top of the $2950 we paid last year. This, along with the notice received last month concerning the increase in Unified Carrier Registration UCR fees for 2010 (almost double the 2009 fee) from $3800 to $7511 has me wondering what will be next.

The Hazmat Registration fees for small hazmat carriers remain relatively unchanged, but the fee for large motor carriers jumps from $975 to $2575 annually. Ouch!

So far in 2010 it is costing carriers an additional $6,911 in government fees to operate, not including the increase in fuel spending.

The registration fees for the 2010-2011 year are due by July 1, 2010. Motor carriers can register with the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration by clicking here.

Remember “Road Check 2010” is June 8 – 10. If you have any vehicles due for their periodic inspection in June, now would be a good time to step it up and get them done.

Down the Road – Mike


UCR Fees Just Shy of Double

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has finally set the 2010 fees for the Unified Carrier Registration UCR program.

The following will be the fees for 2010:

0-2 trucks $76 (old fee $39)
3-5 trucks $227 (old $116)
6-20 trucks $452 (old $231)
21-100 trucks $1,576 (old $806)
101-1,000 trucks $7,511 (old $3,840)
1,001 and above $73,346 (old $37,500)
The fees are based on the number of trucks in the fleet, and trailers do not count.

The fees proposed accounted for “bracket shifting” – motor carriers that move from one category to a lower-paying category because of downsizing etc. That shifting has resulted in a 25 percent loss in revenue in past years.

Be sure to update your MCS-150 before you file the UCR fees.

Motor carriers can begin filing UCR fees on May 3.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other followers