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Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) and Drivers - Separating Fact from Fiction

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With the launch of the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) in December 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues to receive questions from drivers. Below is a slightly updated reprint of an earlier What’s New entry separating fact from fiction regarding CSA and drivers.

FMCSA is committed to providing all stakeholders with factual and timely information on CSA. As part of this commitment, it is important that commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are aware of how CSA affects them.

Drivers, we have heard and appreciate your questions on issues ranging from the Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS) to the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). Here are the FACTS:

What is the DSMS?

The SMS assesses a carrier’s safety performance based on its roadside violations and crashes. The DSMS is a tool within the SMS used by enforcement staff only. Its primary purpose is to help enforcement staff assess driver safety as part of motor carrier investigations. The DSMS does this by identifying which of a motor carrier’s drivers to examine during that carrier’s compliance review.  This enforcement tool uses a subset of violations to evaluate an individual driver’s safety performance across employers. Appendix A in the SMS Methodology Report shows the violations used in the DSMS.

Who can see the DSMS?

Only enforcement staff have access to the DSMS for use during motor carrier safety investigations. Neither drivers nor employing motor carriers have access to the DSMS. While some third party vendors are developing and marketing CSA driver scorecards, these companies do not have access to full driver violation histories in FMCSA databases. FMCSA has not and will not validate any vendors’ scorecards or data.

What is the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) and how does it impact CSA?

PSP is a new, voluntary FMCSA program mandated by Congress that is designed to assist the motor carrier industry in assessing individual drivers’ safety performance as part of the hiring process. PSP is a completely separate program from CSA. Additionally, PSP contains 3 years of inspection reports and 5 years of crash reports; however,  it does not provide a rating, score, or formal assessment of any kind. Drivers are encouraged to obtain and review their PSP report before applying for new jobs and request a review of any potentially inaccurate data through FMCSA’s DataQs program. While the PSP is not part of CSA, the safety data accessible through PSP is the same data that the DSMS and enforcement staff use during motor carrier investigations. For more information about PSP, visit FMCSA’s PSP Website at psp.fmcsa.dot.gov. For more information about DataQs, visit dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Will FMCSA use CSA to remove CMV drivers from their jobs?

NO CSA does not give FMCSA new authority to remove drivers from their jobs and DSMS information is not publicly shared in the way that motor carrier safety data is today. Other important facts related to driver employment are outlined below.

  • Carriers will not inherit any of a newly hired driver’s past violations. Only those inspections and crashes that a driver is involved in while operating under a carrier’s authority can be applied to a carrier’s SMS data.
  • Similar to the previous system, SafeStat, tickets or warnings that drivers receive while operating their personal vehicles do not count in the new SMS.
  • Neither FMCSA nor CSA restricts drivers based on BMI, weight, or neck size.
  • Drivers should review current and potential motor carrier employers’ SMS data which is located at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms. Drivers and carriers with strong safety histories stand to benefit from the new compliance and enforcement program.

Can FMCSA use CSA to revoke a driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL)?

NOCSA does not give FMCSA the authority to revoke a CDL. Only state agencies responsible for issuing CDLs have the authority to suspend or revoke them.

The CDL Program is completely separate from CSA. FMCSA has developed and issued standards for the testing and licensing of CDL holders. These standards require states to issue CDLs only after the driver has passed knowledge and skills tests related to the type of vehicle the driver expects to operate.

The data kept by a state (i.e. tickets, citations, written warnings, convictions) and the data that are kept by the Federal government and used in the DSMS (i.e. violations from roadside inspections and crash reports) are separate.  Drivers can review their state data by requesting their Motor Vehicle Record (MVR). Drivers may review the data kept by the Federal government through the PSP program referenced above and may request a review of the Federal data through FMCSA’s DataQs system (dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/login.asp).

How does CSA affect a motor carriers’ employment of CMV drivers?

Under CSA, FMCSA continues to hold motor carriers responsible for the safety performance of the drivers they employ. This is a longstanding FMCSA position and is not unique to CSA. All inspections and crashes that a driver receives while under the authority of a carrier will remain part of the carrier’s SMS data for two years unless overturned through the DataQs system, even if the carrier terminates the driver.

FMCSA’s CSA website is the official resource for information about this new safety program. We encourage drivers and all stakeholders to visit the CSA Website http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov and sign up to receive regular updates by email at csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/stay_connected.aspx.
Know the facts, be prepared.

Thank You,
CSA Web Team
USDOT/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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FMCSA EXTENDS HOS COMMENT PERIOD, WON’T MAKE COURT DEADLINE FOR RULE

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ccjdigital.com/fmcsa-extends-hos-comment-period-won%E2%80%99t-make-july-26-deadline-for-rule
By CCJ STAFF
Published May, 06 2011

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Friday, May 6, that it has placed four additional documents in the public docket of its December 2010 notice of proposed rulemaking concerning hours of service for commercial motor vehicle drivers and that it was reopening the NPRM’s comment period for 30 days to allow for review and discussion of the documents and FMCSA’s possible consideration of their findings in the development of the final rule.

FMCSA also said that because of the comment period’s extension, it will be unable to issue the final rule by a court-negotiated deadline of July 26. The agency said only comments related to the four additional documents will be considered during the 30-day extension. The four studies are:

FMCSA also advised the public of an adjustment to the rulemaking schedule previously agreed to in litigation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Case No. 09-1094). Pursuant to an Oct. 26, 2009 agreement between Public Citizen, other petitioners and FMCSA, the agency was to publish a final rule within 21 months of the date of the settlement agreement.

FMCSA said the extra comment period for the four additional documents will require additional time that was not envisioned in 2009 and that it will be unable to publish a final rule by the previously agreed-upon date of July 26, 2011. The agency said it has advised petitioners of the delay to the rulemaking schedule.

To comment on the four additional documents, go to www.regulations.gov; the docket number is FMCSA-2004-19608. The deadline to file comments is June 9.

ccjdigital.com/fmcsa-extends-hos-comment-period-won%E2%80%99t-make-july-26-deadline-for-rule

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Highway Hostages

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By Brad Bentley
DigitalMagazineTechnology.com/a/?KEY=rpmfortruckers-11-04april#page=25&zoom=1

An in-depth look at the growth of human trafficking and what truckers can do to help thwart it.

Trivia question: what’s the second most lucrative crime business in the world?

SLAVERY

According to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development study, the answer is human trafficking – a form of modern-day slavery that results in people being bought, sold and moved around. Worldwide, this is a $32 billion industry with an estimated 27 million people enslaved, more than at any other time in history. The recruited or harbored victims are transported and trapped in lives of misery - often beaten, starved, and obtained for forced labor or sexual exploitation.

So, what does that have to do with the American trucker? Plenty.

It’s been almost 150 years since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery in the United States, and I’m sure he would be dismayed to know human trafficking is alive and well in America. Beyond the international statistics, this type of slavery has been reported in all 50 states and in 91 cities. While the U.S. State Department estimates that 14,500-17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into our country each year, they approximate the number of trafficked individuals within our borders to be a staggering 200,000-300,000 per year. Second only to drug trafficking, this human rights issue doesn’t get near the attention – publically, at least.

It’s been more than a quarter of a century since President Ronald Reagan declared America’s “War on Drugs”. The effort was spearheaded by a catchy “Just Say No” slogan, and drug trafficking was even glamorized into pop culture via these lyrics from the song, The Smuggler’s Blues:

See it in the headlines,
You hear it ev’ry day.
They say they’re gonna stop it,
But it doesn’t go away.
They move it through Miami, sell it in L.A.,
They hide it up in Telluride,
I mean it’s here to stay.
It’s propping up the governments in Colombia and Peru,
You ask any D.E.A. man,
He’ll say There’s nothin’ we can do,
From the office of the President,
Right down to me and you, me and you.

It’s a losing proposition,
But one you can’t refuse.
It’s the politics of contraband,
It’s the smuggler’s blues,
Smuggler’s blues.

Some would argue that when Glenn Frey penned this song back in the mid-80s, that he would prove perceptive regarding the challenges (and possible futility) of the War on Drugs. Fast forward 15 years, and our nation’s leaders were calling for a “war on terrorism” in response to the 9/11 attacks on American soil. The trucking industry was proactive with anti-terrorism, with thousands of truck drivers joining Highway Watch, an American Trucking Associations (ATA) initiative that trained drivers to notice and report emergency or suspicious situations on the road. However, that program had some problems... (Click here to continue to read in RPM for Truckers.)

Article Resources: www.truckersagainsttrafficking.com | www.traffick911.com | www.chapter61minstries.com | www.transportforchrist.org | www.polarisproject.org | www.driversalike.net | www.fbi.gov | www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/ | www.ncmec.org | www.iEmpathize.org

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A video clip from CNBC concerning the truck driver shortage

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CNBC's Jim Cramer reports on investment opportunities in heavy machinery and the wireless sector, from the CTIA Wireless Conference in Orlando. According to Cramer, the DOJ could be Sprint's best friend when all is said and done.


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Judge places California's global warming program on hold

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latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/03/california-global-warming-program-put-on-hold.html

A San Francisco superior court judge has put California's sweeping plan to curb greenhouse gas pollution on hold, saying the state did not adequately evaluate alternatives to its cap-and-trade program.

In a 35-page decision, Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith said the Air Resources Board had failed to consider public comments on the proposed measures before adopting the plan, which affects a broad swath of the state's economy.

In particular, the judge noted, officials gave short shrift to analyzing a carbon fee, or carbon tax, devoting a “scant two paragraphs to this important alternative” to a market-based trading system in their December 2008 plan.

The air board said it would appeal the judge's decision, which was filed late Friday and released Monday.

The potential setback in California, the first state to enact a broad global warming law, comes amid heightened nationwide controversy over how to curb the gases that trap heat in Earth's atmosphere, and change climates.

A greenhouse gas bill passed the U.S. House last year, but failed... Continue to read more...

latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/03/california-global-warming-program-put-on-hold.html