Compliance Safety Accountability Implementation Denies Driver Access to Records

February 16, 2011

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is busy implementing the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program, however the software developer behind it is critical of the failure to provide drivers access to their information. A core platform of the CSA program is that it will allow the exchange of information to flow easily across federal and state agencies, through to fleet managers and intermediate users, such as shipping brokers.

Yet drivers themselves are being left out of the loop.

This calls into question how drivers can be expected to assess where they stand on the current safety scale. If you know you are driving well, that's great but how do you manage to identify areas for improvement? Of even greater concern, how does a driver know when they are not making the safety grade? According to the Steve Bryan, CEO of Vigilo, the software makers behind the CSA program, he believes it is essential that drivers be provided with access to CSA scores and other data.

If a driver can see how well they are faring on the CSA benchmark ratios, it will be far easier (and overall, much safer) to address issues of operational safety. No access to information and CSA scores means that drivers are all essentially running blind. This will impact road safety generally, and truck drivers on an individually specific basis. After all, when you are looking at buying a truck you will be able to see the safety and maintenance record before you seal the deal!

More importantly, the CSA is a "reaction" tool – essentially it is waiting for "something" to happen before it then provides a violation or safety record history. That "something" could be a tractor trailer incident leading to fatalities and serious injuries. It will be better if the CSA program is providing proactive information on performance along with proposed solutions, so that remedial and corrective action can be put into place before it comes to that.

By providing drivers with their scores, they will be able to see how they are performing under the CSA benchmarks. Vigilo itself has released a mini-program it calls Roadside Resume to highlight 3 years violations history with as many as 5 different CDL numbers (past and present). The scoring information is available to Vigilo subscribers to their CSA Scorecard service and provides a free report to anyone holding a CDL.

"Free" is the operative word here – because the whole philosophy behind CSA is to engender a safety and compliant state of mind as operators and carriers go about their business. If the FMCSA is as hot on road safety as it keeps telling us, it ought to be working harder on ensuring that drivers and their managers have access to the information and tools they need to make proactive use of the program rather than waiting for an autopsy of a driver's history or of a real dead body in the morgue.

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