Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CSA 2010

Compliance, Safety, and Accountability

It doesn't work.  End of post.

Seriously though, CSA is possible today because of the advent of the internet, computers, and modern technology.  This is why it is new, untested, and unproven.  CSA has hit us truckers square in the face and lately it has been shown to actually hurt the safest carriers in the industry by classifying them as unsafe.

It's the government's attempt to regulate driver's behavior.  In other words, it's like a computer telling you how to act more human.  Legally. 

The CSA was designed to:

1. Enable companies to hire safer drivers.
2. Enable drivers to work for safer carriers.
3. Enable law enforcement to target unsafe drivers and carriers more easily.
4. Create a higher demand for safe drivers.

The CSA program is for any carrier with a USDOT number.  That's pretty much everybody in any form of trucking.  I could write an entire website devoted to the CSA, but that has already been done.

The bottom line is that your equipment must be in good working order, logbook must be accurate, freight must be properly secured, and you must be fully capable of operating the vehicle both mentally and physically.

At first glance the DOT looks for:
A.  Truck and trailer
    1. License plates
    2. Inspection stickers
    3. Cleanliness of the vehicle (Dashboard free of clutter and truck recently washed)
    4. Overall condition of the vehicle such as missing mudflaps, damaged tires, and
        faulty lights (A nice paint job can really help you here)
B.  Condition of the load
    1.  How the load is situated on the trailer (positioned correctly and legally)
    2.  The condition of the securement devices (undamaged straps,chains, and binders)
    3.  The correct number and type of securement devices
    4.  The weight of the entire truck and trailer
    5.  The weight of each axle
C.    The condition of the driver
    1.  Driver's ability to answer all questions about your load, equipment, and operation accurately
    2.  Driver's environment (clean cab free of garbage)
    3.  Driver's appearance (clearly awake and alert, clean and decently dressed)

If the operator does all of this, drives a nice looking truck that's in compliance, and knows what the heck they're talking about in regards to the rules, regulations, and load information, then they'll do well during an inspection. 

Reading this from the perspective of someone who is not in the industry, or as a newcomer, you might be discouraged from embarking on a career in trucking as it would appear that the DOT is being a little too hard on truckers.  Worst case scenario, you should be prepared to lose everything at the whim of a DOT officer at a roadside checkpoint because they have the power to ban you from trucking with a series of failed inspections.

This is a boon for large trucking companies and the FMCSA as it legally removes all power from the trucker and puts it in the hands of the government.  No longer can a truck driver keep working in the business legally after they operate unsafely.  No one wants unsafe operators.  I know I don't want them.  Unfortunately though, with each law that's put in place, qualified operators are singled out and penalized unjustly.  This is the ultimate drawback of government oversight. 

The main problem in the industry is still not being addressed:  It's a general defunding of the working class.  In the trucking industry though, it means the roads are less safe, the drivers aren't as professional as they could be, the equipment is in worse shape, and the general environment is catering to the large trucking companies over the start-ups (destruction of the small business trucking companies).

An example of a large trucking company which owns no equipment, yet operates as a middleman between truckers and customers is CH Robinson.  CH Robinson nets billions of dollars as a middleman.  This is a company that takes money from the customer, decides how much money the trucker will do the load for, then sells it the trucker.  The customer and the trucker both lose money in this transaction.

This matters to CSA why?

Simply put, the time has come for customers and truckers to communicate directly with each other and completely cut out all brokers/middlemen.  Sorry brokers, it's nothing personal.  The technology that's available now eradicates their business model.   Every truck today has a laptop in it and every driver has access to load boards.  Given the reality that customers and truckers will become more tech savvy, trucking companies and brokers are worried that the small business trucker will gain the upper hand.  This is a direct threat to the major trucking companies. 

CSA 2010 was created to help EOBR's become a reality.  EOBR's will allow every single truck to be tracked by Qualcomm, Peoplenet, Skybitz, and ultimately the government, which acts in concert with the major corporations who fund the lobbyists to push their agenda.  At its core, it's the oldest game in the book:  Wipe out the competition.

Even more insidious is the way in which this is being justified.  The people who are pushing these laws are using images and stories of people killed in truck accidents to mandate their policies, yet there are no studies to date which show that CSA 2010 or EOBR's do anything to promote safety.  In fact, so far the evidence is to the contrary.  There is a rush to get this done, but rest assured it has nothing to do with safety.  It's all about stopping the small businesses from taking complete control of this industry. 

The mega-carriers and giant corporations have a war chest full of cash to throw at this, thanks to the hard working men and women out here who perform work for them.  I don't see this changing anytime soon, so all that can be done is to stay on top of the changes and understand who the major players are.


Pat said...

Follow the money and I'm sure well see it going from truckers and staff to large trucking companies and politicians.

june in florida said...

Great post, ty.

Scott said...

Ed- You talk a little bit about shippers&carriers matching up via the web. Do you have any posts on how you plan and pick your loads? Is it all online?

Ed said...

Scott it is mostly on-line for our operation because we are all over the US and at any given time there is a need for our truck.

We do have many connections with sales agents that we are established with, but mostly the internet has made sharing information easier so that is the path of least resistance.

Marlaina said...

Well said.