Safety expert: Additional waves of CSA regulations coming

Updated Jun 26, 2014

About to catch your breath because you’ve finally gotten Compliance, Safety, Accountability under control? Not so fast.

Safety compliance expert Jeff Davis, principle officer for Fleet Safety Services, told CCJ Summer Symposium attendees in LaJolla Ca., this morning that a virtual tsunami of add-on CSA regulations and requirements is about to hit the trucking industry.

Citing “regulation fatigue” at the executive level, Davis nevertheless maintains that truck fleets will have to redouble their efforts to stay ahead of the curve on CSA in order to protect their BASIC scores – which are coming under increasing scrutiny by law enforcement agencies and regulatory agencies like FMCSA as well as shippers and insurance companies.

“We’ve come through Phase 1 of the CSA,” Davis explains, “which was the actual launch of the program and understanding how it would work. For better or worse, we now have that information. Now we’re entering Phase 2, which is the actual intervention phase which CSA was all about in the first place.”

In other words, Davis says, fleets must shift from educating themselves about CSA to learning how to operate in a world largely defined by how the program views them – a process made even more complicated by the fact that new CSA requirements are looming and the program itself is being used (and abused) in ways never intended.

Davis told Symposium attendees in his estimation, a primary internal purpose of the CSA program was to force motor carriers into using electronic logs. In fact, he maintains that use of e-logs is the only way fleets today can accurately track and control Hours of Service compliance to head off detrimental CSA scores.

New CSA realities now require fleets to use doctors with a Medical Providers Certification to gauge the health of their drivers.

“This rule came into effect on May 21st,” Davis explains. “The days of simply fogging a mirror to get a medical card are over. Your drivers must get a full, complete physical to drive.”

More annoying, David says, is a brand-new requirement he discovered just last week that calls for the government-certified doctor to, in turn, be re-certified by the fleet as well.

“You have to place a note in the driver’s file that the doctor who passed him or her as fit for duty is government certified,” he explained. “You have to go to the FMCSA website and verify they are certified. This regulation crept up on us and I have no idea it was even being considered until I ran up on it last week.”

Additionally, Davis believes that hair testing for CSA’s driver drug and alcohol clearing house may soon be required.

“My advice to fleets is to be proactive on this front now,” he stresses. “I recommend checking your database on every driver to ascertain whether they’ve had a prior drug or alcohol violation and follow up to make certain they are in compliance now.”

Finally, Davis says fleets can expect a sleep apnea test to round out the medical certification process for drivers.

“The bottom line is that fleets are simply going to have to be more hands-on in helping their drivers get and keep their medical cards,” Davis adds. “It’s going to take more time, more resources and more people to do so.”