The trucking industrys primary regulator, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), has proposed Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, a new measurement, enforcement and compliance program designed to measure drivers safety habits and training.
The programs goals are to improve federal and state enforcement of safety and regulatory laws, identify and address behavior that increases risk and encourage the use of technology to track safety and performance data. The data will be compared among carriers to pinpoint at-risk companies.
Hearings on Capitol Hill are examining the new initiative, which is receiving cautionary reviews from the American Trucking Association (ATA) and some lawmakers. There is a palpable fear among critics of the initiative that thousands of drivers will lose their jobs based on unfair assessments. Because of these fears, the ATA is urging that data collected from accidents should indicate the at-fault party so that drivers and carriers are not held responsible for mishaps they did not cause. The ATA is also pushing for the program to use vehicle miles travelled rather than the number of trucks as a carriers measure of exposure and to only consider actual citations issued by law enforcement and not warnings.
The ATA also believes that CSA 2010 might unjustly penalize carriers by considering violations by drivers who have been terminated as well as citations that were dismissed or dropped in court. The association also points to inconsistencies in state laws regarding measurements of flatbed carriers and other enforcement practices. Furthermore, the ATA maintains that drivers who are not required to be trained in certain equipment and operator regulations will now be held accountable despite their lack of training.
CSA 2010 will use SMS, or Safety Measurement System, to identify high-risk carriers by tracking roadside inspection violations, crash data and each carriers safety performance in the categories under BASICs, or Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories, which are actions that can lead to accidents. These include unsafe driving, driver fitness, fatigued driving, controlled substance use, improper vehicle maintenance, cargo-related violations and crash indicator behaviors. The system would calculate a score based on each of the seven behavior categories and rank it in comparison to other carriers. The SMS would be updated monthly.
The unsafe driving category would undoubtedly incorporate restrictions on cell phones and texting by truck drivers. One study indicated that text messaging by truckers increased the risk of accidents by 23.2 times. Carriers have expressed concern that these restrictions could affect drivers use of on-board computers to communicate with their companies.
Regardless of the safety tracking programs in place, if you have been injured by the actions or negligence of a truck driver, you need qualified representation to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer by calling 408-293-7777 today.
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