The goal of CSA 2010, the new safety program from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, is to better track the performance of truck drivers and their companies and hold them accountable for their actions. One aspect is the tracking of violations given to drivers as drivers who pile up moving violations are more likely to be involved in a serious truck accident. Recently, though, some in the industry have taken issue with the way the new program counts violations.
CSA 2010 will count all moving violations against the driver, even if no actual citation is given to the driver. This means that a tractor-trailer can be pulled over for going over the speed limit, but let off with a warning, yet the incident will still be counted as a violation when it comes time to give a safety performance rating.
Representatives from the trucking industry complain that this way of tracking violations is unfair to the driver. They say that it doesn’t allow for the driver to challenge a violation and amounts to a guilty until proven innocent standard.
Also, some states don’t allow for law enforcement to inspect a commercial vehicle unless there is probable cause to stop the vehicle. In these states it is common for an officer to pull a truck over for speeding just a couple miles over the limit in order to have a reason to search the vehicle. No citation is given in the majority of these cases, but under the new safety rating system, these stops would count as violations.
Representatives from the FMCSA claim that the new system still gives an accurate view of a driver’s performance. They also understand that different states have different laws and will account for that in their ratings. The big problem they are trying to avoid is drivers getting off the hook for violations since a pattern of negligent behavior is often a predictor of future tractor-trailer crashes.