CSA 2010 offers tools to improve safety, profitability

by Rick Geller

The fear mongers appear to be hard at work. As the US prepares to introduce a new safety rating system under CSA 2010, fleets and drivers are being rocked by false rumours that suggest they will be declared unfit, insurance will be denied, or that employees will even be arrested at roadside scales.

In reality, the new initiative being applied to every cross-border trucker is something that informed fleets will embrace. It offers a new array of tools that can play a key role in successful recruiting strategies, identifies the challenges associated with high-risk drivers and makes it possible to address the hidden issues that would otherwise lead to costly losses.

There is simply no question that the related Safety Management System will offer a more detailed analysis than today’s SafeStat measurements.

The new system -being introduced this July -will track details about every crash and safety-related violations within seven Behaviour Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). And these seven BASICs will sound very familiar to any fleet that monitors safety performance.

Regulators will now be tracking reports of unsafe driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness, controlled substances and alcohol use, vehicle maintenance, cargo-related issues and reportable crashes.

All of these details will be stored in the Motor Carrier Management Information System that will track five years of crash data and three years of inspection data such as out-of-service violations.

But unlike a simple count of the number of incidents, CSA 2010 will also weigh the severity of individual violations and the timing of each event. A recent violation will be weighed more heavily than one that took place several years ago, and each measurement will be used to identify the specific factors that increase the likelihood of a crash.

The scores that emerge will then be compared against the performance of similar fleets, establishing meaningful benchmarks along the way. The work behind CSA 2010 has also introduced some impressive planning tools to help fleets maintain favourable ratings.

The US Department of Transportation, for example, has unveiled a clearly identified Safety Management Cycle which will walk any fleet through the individual steps that can improve performance. The checklist helps to identify written policies and procedures, roles and responsibilities, qualification and hiring, training and communication, monitoring and tracking, and finally a form of meaningful action that will address any safety-related concerns.

And one of the biggest changes of all comes in the form of a system that will measure and record the performance of individual drivers for the very first time.

Under existing operating records, a newly-hired driver could add six unwanted points to a company’s profile, lose their job, and then take their bad habits to the next unsuspecting employer. Meanwhile, the fleet that hired them in the first place will need to live with the points for as long as 30 months.

But the new CSA 2010 reporting system will hold drivers accountable for their actions and share the related details through the Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP).

A recruiter will be able to tap into the records as long as a job candidate has signed the required consent form.

Of course, this initiative involves more than addressing the actions of a single driver. The data available through CSA 2010 can be used to support a variety of programs, whether they involve refining training efforts across a fleet or other interventions that can take place before a crash ever occurs.

Rather than taking a shotgun approach to addressing as many safety-related issues as possible, a training initiative will now have the chance of honing in on specific challenges that increase the likelihood of a loss.

They are the types of initiatives that can have a direct impact on profitability, even in the midst of a struggling economy. After all, fleets that have introduced Markel’s high risk driver strategies have been known to reduce their losses by as much as 75%.

The financial impact of related incidents will undoubtedly take many companies by surprise. I recently asked one fleet to circle May 26 on every calendar because each dollar made up to that point was being used to offset safety-related losses.

Think of it like the Tax Free Day that businesses will use to determine how much money they need to make before covering their tax bills.

Think of it as proof that CSA 2010 can lead to the strategies that will improve a fleet’s bottom line.

-This month’s expert is Rick Geller. Rick is the director of safety and signature services for Markel Insurance Company of Canada and has more than 25 years experience providing loss control and risk management services to the trucking industry. Send your questions, feedback and comments about this column to info@markel.ca.Markel Safety and Training Services, a division of Markel Insurance Company of Canada, offers specialized courses, seminars and consulting to fleet owners, safety managers, trainers and drivers. Markel is the country’s largest trucking insurer providing more than 50 years of continuous service to the transportation industry.

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