Starting in December, compliance with federal safety regulations is going to get a lot tougher, say carriers that have been participating in the pilot version of the new safety regime, CSA 2010. Pilot carriers in a recent webinar warned that a carrier's performance under the SafeStat measurement system is not a reliable indicator of how it will perform under CSA 2010.

"If you compare our SafeStat scores to our CSA 2010 scores, it appears like we are two entirely separate companies," said Donna Underwood, safety director for Steelman Transportation, Springfield, Mo.

Underwood was one of eight trucking executives who discussed their experience with CSA 2010 in a September webinar hosted by the Missouri Trucking Association.

CSA 2010, which eventually will become just CSA (Compliance, Safety and Accountability), changes the way the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration analyzes the safety data it collects from roadside inspections, truck crash reports and traffic reports on moving violations.

Right now, under SafeStat, the agency limits its analysis of roadside inspection data to violations that result in out-of-service orders. Under CSA 2010, however, all safety violations are included in an analysis that goes considerably deeper into carrier operations. That analysis will be accompanied by a much more robust and far-reaching enforcement scheme.

The experience of the pilot state carriers shows that violations that used to be statistically insignificant will now carry significant weight, and carriers that are not in compliance will hear directly from FMCSA.

Several other themes emerged from the presentations.

All of the carriers found they needed to make an extra effort to train drivers and other company personnel, and maintain a higher level of communication.

Many realized the need to go to their customers and explain the new system to them - shippers must be engaged in the process, as well.

They found FMCSA's new pre-employment screening program a useful tool in the driver selection process.

And several have decided that the best way to manage driver performance in the fatigued driving category is to make the move to electronic onboard recorders.

A DVD showing the entire session is available for $125 from the Missouri Trucking Association (, and look for a more detailed article in the October issue of Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.