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Fleet Maintenance And The CSA Challenge

White Truck on the Road

Keeping Trucks on the Road with FMCSA Compliance

An analysis of the Maintenance BASIC under the Compliance, Safety and Accountability program from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration showed that a high number of violations are caused by requirements regarding reflective lighting. Broken lamps are another problem for many fleet managers along with wheel part repairs and chafed brake hoses.

“Seventy to 75 percent of all CSA points can be traced back to maintenance or unsafe driving violations”.

In the past, many of these issues may have been overlooked. Drivers and managers would simply have decided that while the issues were in need of repair, they were not extensive enough to actually shut down the fleet. Today however, these are issues that are commonly repaired right away because the points will count against the fleet and could possibly cause a major shutdown of operations.

Larger problems were typically always repaired right away but minor issues would have been overlooked simply because they were costly or time consuming and because they did not threaten the operation, they could be put off for a later time. Today however, the CSA looks at everything that could possibly cause an issue and ensures that managers are focusing on all aspects of operating their fleets.

Many organizations are learning that in order to comply properly with CSA standards, a pre-trip and a post-trip inspection are needed by the driver. Everyone in the organization should be focusing on CSA requirements

in order to ensure that the operation remains on track. This includes every operation that uses trucks.

“The most important thing to note with CSA is that if your business is using trucks, you are subject to it,” stresses Stephen Keppler, executive director of the Greenbelt, Md.-based Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), an international not-for-profit organization composed of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico”.

Historically, he says, a lot of refuse businesses did not really think of themselves as trucking companies; trucks were just one of many tools to collect trash and recyclables. Under CSA, they no longer have that luxury. Any business operating commercial trucks is going to be captured within this new safety net.

“On top of that, CSA uses real-time data generated from roadside inspections to put together its fleet safety ratings,” says Keppler. That means things like maintenance defects and out-of-adjustment brakes will find their way into in the public eye a lot faster than most fleets realize.

The CSA began in 2010 and since that time, the trucking industry has seen a dramatic reduction in violations, more so than in the last 10 years combined. Driver violations are down by more than 15 percent and roadside inspection violations are down by almost 14 percent. These numbers may continue in a positive direction as more and more fleet management programs are implemented by various companies.

“FCMSA's number one goal is safety: We want to ensure that every trip is a safe trip every time. And we think CSA is bridging multiple worlds in that process. And the nation's fleet maintenance professionals deserve a lot of credit for that; making older equipment work safely while learning to understand and use new technology in pursuit of low CSA scores and consistent safe vehicle operation.”

The integration of regulations by the CSA has required a number of changes within many organizations. Poor performers have been replaced and this covers every base from technicians and drivers to entire fleets. Even law enforcement officers who are tasked with carrying out vehicle and driver inspections have begun to adhere more to CSA standards in an attempt to make the roadways safer for everyone.

Have you seen this HOS cartoon?

The new drivers hours of service rules proposed by the FMCSA look like they are going to be a nightmare to track and even enforce.

Check out this HOS Cartoon.

What do you think about the new FMCSA HOS proposal ?

PROVISION CURRENT RULE PROPOSED RULE NOTES
“DAILY” DUTY PERIOD
Off-duty period 10 consecutive hrs. No change  
“Driving Window” For most drivers, 14 consecutive hrs. (may continue on-duty/not driving after 14 hrs.);”Regional” allowed one 16-hr. period “weekly” but release from duty required after 16 hrs;Non-CDL w/i 150 miles allowed two 16-hr. periods “weekly” (may continue on-duty/not driving after 16 hrs.). For all property-carrying CMV drivers(unless excepted):14 consecutive hrs. with release from duty required at end of driving window;16 consecutive hrs. no more than twice “weekly” with release from duty required at end of driving window. Any on-duty time after 14th hour constitutes use of a 16-hr. period.
Max. on-duty within driving window Normally 14 hrs; 16 hrs. once per week for “regional” drivers; 16 hrs. twice per week for non-CDL w/i 150 miles. 13 hrs. Proposal not applicable to non-CDL 150 mile short-haul drivers. 13 hrs. during 14- or 16-hour driving windows for others.
Max. driving within driving window 11 hrs. 10 or 11 hrs. (Both being considered)  
Limit on consecutive hours of driving None May drive only if it has been 7 hours or less since last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes Proposal not applicable to non-CDL 150 mile short-haul drivers.
“WEEKLY” DUTY PERIOD
Max. on-duty hours 60 hrs. in 7 days/ 70 hrs. in 8 days No change  
“Restart” 34 consecutive hrs. See “limits on restarts” below.  
Limits on Restarts None (1) Must include two periods between Midnight-6 a.m.;
(2) May only be used once per week.
Driver must designate the period being used as a restart
SLEEPER BERTH
When used as substitute for 10 consecutive hrs. off duty Two periods: One at least 8 consecutive hrs. in SB; other at least 2 hrs. SB or off-duty. The shorter period does NOT extend the driving window. Continue 8/2 hr. periods, but apply same new driving, on-duty, and duty-period limits as proposed for non-SB drivers.  
DEFINITION OF ON-DUTY TIME
On-duty time Includes any time in CMV except sleeper-berth. Does not include any time resting in a parked CMV. In moving CMV, does not include up to 2 hrs. in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hrs. in sleeper-berth. Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.
OILFIELD EXEMPTION
Oilfield exemption “Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields (which is off-duty but does extend 14-hr duty period) must be recorded and available to FMCSA, but no method or details are specified for the recordkeeping. “Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields must be shown on RODS or electronic equivalent as off duty and identified by annotations in “remarks” or a separate line added to “grid.” “Waiting time” is not included in on-duty time or the calculation of the 14 or 16-hr. driving window.

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