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Survey Finds Drivers Still Don't Understand CSA

August 10, 2011

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Truck drivers may not have a solid understanding of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's new CSA enforcement program, and a majority are concerned that it could cause them to lose their jobs, according to a new survey from the American Transportation Research Institute.


ATRI released a report detailing the extent to which CSA has affected the daily lives of commercial drivers. It also describes and analyzes driver attitudes toward and comprehension of FMCSA's new regulatory program, based on survey data collected from 4,555 U.S. truck drivers.

Among the findings, nearly 78% of drivers incorrectly believe that a trucking company inherits past violations from new hires. Job security concerns still exist, with nearly two-thirds of drivers somewhat or extremely concerned that they will lose their jobs as a result of CSA.

A quarter or the drivers expected their take-home pay would be reduced as a result of CSA. However, 54% expressed no such concern, and 21% actually expected their pay to increase.

Some of the most common CSA myths and misperceptions identified by the ATRI survey:

* 87% falsely believed that traffic tickets/convictions are part of FMCSA's SMS calculations. The data kept by a state (i.e. tickets, citations, written warnings, convictions) and the data that are kept in the SMS (i.e. violations from RI and crash reports) are separate.

* 78% of drivers incorrectly believed that a trucking company inherits past violations from new hires. Carriers do not inherit any of a newly hired driver's past violations; only those inspections that a driver receives while driving under a carrier's authority can be applied to a carrier's SMS record.

* 72% falsely believed that FMCSA can revoke a commercial driver's license (CDL) as a result of CSA. CSA does not give FMCSA the authority to remove drivers from their jobs and cannot be used to rate drivers or to revoke a CDL; only State agencies responsible for issuing licenses, CDL or otherwise, have the authority to suspend them.

* 68.6% of drivers falsely believed that CSA takes into account a driver's personal vehicle driving record. Tickets or warnings that CMV drivers receive while operating their personal vehicles do not count in the SMS.

* 58.5% of drivers falsely believed that the federal motor carrier safety regulations have changed as a result of CSA. CSA has not changed any of FMCSA's regulations, although FMCSA is advocating for a future rule change to alter the carrier safety rating process for determining whether or not a carrier is unfit.

In addition, 99% could not correctly identify which 5 carrier BASIC scores are publicly available, and 98% did not know that FMCSA enforcement staff are the only group of people who can access official driver scores.

ATRI currently has a similar motor carrier survey under way. To access it or a copy of the full CSA Driver Survey Report, visit www.atri-online.org.

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