Many Commercial Truck Drivers Don’t Understand FMCSA Safety Initiative

Posted By The Carlson Law Firm || 10-Sep-2012

Despite educational outreach, a recent study shows that many commercial truckers do not understand the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, which was implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) this year. The goal of the program was to improve safety in the trucking industry, prevent trucking accidents and make the roads safer for all motorists.

According to a survey conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the research arm of the American Trucking Association, truck drivers have fundamental misconceptions about what the CSA accomplishes, and how this safety measure will affect their jobs. The organization administered questionnaires to 4,555 truck drivers and found the following widely-believed pieces of misinformation:

  • Seventy-eight percent of participants thought that the CSA requires trucking companies to inherit the past violations of new hires, when in fact the regulation only applies to violations that occur when the driver is actually employed by the carrier
  • Seventy-two percent of drivers believed that the FMCSA has the authority to revoke a commercial driver’s license, although the agency has no such authority
  • Over sixty-eight percent of study participants believed that their personal driving record was used to help figure out their ratings, although personal vehicle records are not factored into the analysis

More Education Needed

Although the FMCSA delayed the CSA program several times in order to give trucking companies enough time to educate their workers about how the initiative would affect their jobs, this study illustrates that more education is needed. The ATRI report did find that the more training truck drivers received, the more they understood how the CSA program works.

As the report explains, “Driver attitudes in general were found to differ among drivers who experienced varying levels of CSA training. Interestingly, attitudes were neutral for drivers who had no training, somewhat negative for drivers with one training session and somewhat positive for drivers with multiple sessions.”

Hopefully if more education is provided to truck drivers they will better understand the workings and goals of the CSA. This in turn will hopefully lead to improved compliance and accountability in the trucking industry, and safer roads for everyone.

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