Friday, January 14, 2011

CSA 2010 scores are now available to the public, but are we any safer?

Tom Sanderson
President and CEO

The answer is no and furthermore we risk opening a quagmire of legal actions while also inflicting significant damage in the trucking industry and for the freight shipping public. Federal law requires that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determine whether a trucking company is fit for service. Carriers must also maintain adequate insurance. In all modes of transportation, we rely on federal agencies to be the watchdogs of safety telling us that the airlines we fly and the trains we board are safe. With CSA 2010 various groups are trying to blur the definition and shift the burden of evaluating carrier safety to manufacturers, retailers, and logistics management companies. The concept of Federal Preemption is critical to a smooth-running national transportation system. The trial lawyers are licking their chops at the prospects of suing Fortune 500 companies in state courts for using carriers that the federal government has deemed are fit for service, but whose CSA 2010 scores fall below some arbitrary percentile. Safety must be an absolute, not a relative measure. Fully 57% of all trucking companies are under "Alert" for at least one of the new laws' measures. Some of the largest truckers are advocating the new rules because it will be harder for smaller carriers to survive, thus increasing the pricing power of the survivors. If the FMCSA wants to utilize a new measurement system to determine which carriers are fit for duty, we are all for it, but they should not abdicate their obligations and simultaneously open the floodgates of uncertainty and litigation.

1 comment:

  1. At least, for the way it is written now . . . again, that could change, but I do not believe it will. Truck drivers, along with their motor carrier will be scored on their performances. Which, I think is important for the benefit of everybody.


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