August 2010, TruckingInfo.com - Fleet Innovators
Heavy Duty Trucking's 2010 Truck Fleet Innovators offer their viewpoints on the FMCSA's new enforcement program.Ben Bauman, President and CEO, Bolt Express
With the increase in freight demand during the first two quarters of 2010, the transportation industry is starting to feel the effect of a driver and owner-operator shortage. The recession of 2008-2009 put a lot of drivers and owner-operators into the unemployment lines. With CSA 2010, it is estimated that 4 to 8 percent of the driver pool will be eliminated for hiring. So the combination of the lost drivers in the recession and the CSA 2010 changes will definitely create an inability to hire qualified drivers, starting in the last quarter of 2010. It has been estimated that the trucking industry currently needs 400,000 plus driving jobs that are not being filled as of the second quarter of 2010.
CSA 2010 will also create a change in how the insurance underwriters evaluate the driver risk. I believe that we will see commercial insurance rates go up as the insurance underwriters analyze the risk factors associated with hiring drivers under the new CSA 2010 requirements. Shippers will also see CSA as a competitive edge among carriers and will use CSA as the determining factor in awarding new business. Those with a weak CSA score will recognize a weaker rate and a non-preferred carrier status.
Driver pay rates will be also be affected by the CSA change. I think that industry will move to CSA scores as part of the metric for determining drivers' compensation values. With a driver shortage, increased insurance rates and driver market value all increasing, the result will be high freight rates to the shippers starting towards the end of 2010.
Bolt Express believes CSA 2010 overall is a positive for the trucking industry, but it will create some unfavorable results that carriers will have to address quickly.
Jim Burg, President and CEO, James Burg Trucking
Trucking is the most over-regulated yet under-enforced industry I'm aware of. Whether it's CSA 2010 or seat belts or following too close or a texting ban, if there's not significant enforcement behind it, it's not going to change people's behavior. The last thing I want to see is CSA 2010 go into effect and there's not significant enforcement to that driver - then it's all for nothing. If the government doesn't take their CDL away, they just go on to another company.
I feel comfortable with the program based on Ms. Ferro's commitment for FMCSA to get it right from the start. This will ensure they will have the resources to properly deal with deficient carriers and drivers.
I have hired a company to convert our SafeStat data to CSA 2010 data. Every driver with derogatory information has been in my office to be educated on the impact of their actions. All others have been informed during safety meetings and written memos.
I have found great use of the newly released FMCSA's Pre-Screen Program (PSP). Not to be confused with CSA 2010, this program allows me to review roadside inspection and accident history of a driver before I hire them. I have requested five drivers' information. Two were not hired based in part or solely on this information. In these two instances, each driver asked how long they need to have 'clean' records before they can re-apply.
Doug Duncan, President and CEO (retired), FedEx Freight
While Duncan is now retired, FedEx Freight says it has been keeping officers, managers, drivers and others informed of CSA 2010 provisions through regular communications and education modules since January 2010. The company's safety group is reviewing individual scorecards with drivers.
FedEx says drivers understand they can directly control actions that require intervention, and the company is pleased its LTL drivers do not fall within categories requiring intervention. "We attribute this fact to our company's emphasis on safety and the extraordinary professionalism of our driver workforce," the company said.
The carrier points to consistency and fairness in the methods used to measure carriers and drivers as an issue for some in the industry. However, the FMCSA has been listening to the industry and seems willing to make adjustments, the company says.
"We don't anticipate major impacts to our business," FedEx says. "Our understanding is that carriers with inadequate safety processes will be impacted to varying degrees. We support the initiative's goal of promoting safe-driving practices and processes."
Jim Mickey, Co-owner and President, Coastal Pacific Xpress
We have the same situation when we're on U.S. soil. I am a very large supporter of CSA 2010, I'm a very large supporter of onboard recording devices, all our trucks have them, every truck we have is governed - in short, I'm a big supporter of all those things everyone else runs away from. They all make business sense and they all save money.
You can't tell me CSA 2010's anything but good for the top carriers. Those guys in the bottom 20 percent are killing us - our image with the public and with the government and insurance companies is being destroyed by the worst 20 percent. So with CSA 2010 and mandatory EOBRs, nobody loses, we all gain.
In Canada, the bush pilot used to be a romantic figure for us, kind of like Indiana Jones. And one day the airline industry said, this is not good for our image. Today nobody would tolerate a bush pilot mentality, to go over hours, to have a jug of whiskey in the cabin with them, to hold the planes together with duct tape. One day the airline industry said, those days are done. And the same thing needs to happen with trucking.
Tom Voelkel, President and Chief Operating Officer, Dupre Logistics
I believe that CSA 2010, when fully enacted, will create behavior change that will improve the safety on our nation's highways. The new rules will level the playing field and will have positive consequences for good safety behavior and negative consequences for bad safety behavior.
Some third parties have estimated that CSA 2010 will take between 100,000 and 300,000 drivers out of the system due to non-compliance. There will be bumps and bruises for all in the implementation but the highways will be safer. At Dupre, our safety vision is to be "the safest transportation and logistics company in North America." We get closer to our vision every day and believe that CSA 2010 will reinforce this behavior that is in our DNA.
In preparing for CSA 2010, we are utilizing the services of Vigillo. Their system allows us to see how we would score on CSA 2010 today and gives us the opportunity to prepare and make changes needed to improve our score before enforcement begins. We pay our drivers hourly and have very high standards. Our guys are safe, highly productive and give great service while holding costs down. Our drivers deliver our mission every day, "Safe service that's profitable!" We already use EOBRs and other technology that challenges our drivers to continuously improve.
All of our families share the road with the trucking industry, and the safer we are, the better it is for everyone.
From the August 2010 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking.