Shop Repair In a CSA 2010 World

The nationwide rollout of Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 is underway, and it is changing the way fleets approach their maintenance. Under the new government-mandated system, violations found at roadside that didn’t accrue points in the past will count. As a result, it is likely that carriers will no longer wait until a truck returns to its terminal to take care of maintenance, which will boost over-the-road repairs.

“CSA 2010 has been a game-changing event not only in the transportation industry, but in the maintenance industry,” said Tommy Davis, vice president of service centers for AMBEST.

CSA 2010 is the method the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses to calculate fleets’ safety scores and determine which fleets warrant onsite investigations and intervention. The program breaks violations down into seven areas, called BASICs, and weights the violations.

Gary Woodford, FMCSA’s CSA 2010 program manager, said collecting additional data and segmenting it down further than it has in the past will allow FMCSA to more readily identify fleets with safety concerns.

Knowing the values associated with specific components may help truckstops predict areas where fleets will request additional help while out on the road (see green box on opposite page).

Davis said, “Tires carry the heaviest weight of any mechanical component of the vehicle. We tend to believe drivers are going to place more emphasis on that condition and be unwilling to operate the vehicle if it is in defect.”

Items that may have been easy to wait to repair in the past, such as mud flaps and electrical components, will likely increase, according to Michael Gay, vice president of Professional Transportation Partners’ shops. “Oil leaks will be more of a concern because when enforcement officers see a wet spot on the truck, they see it as a sign that the truck isn’t being maintained, so they start looking for more things that need to be maintained,” he said.

Maintenance may increase across the board and not just for unscheduled repairs. “I feel like there should be a huge opportunity if people are doing proper preventive maintenance that will come into play more and more because the driver and/or the customer is going to be more concerned with any defect than they have in the past,” Davis said.

Locations that only offer oil changes may want to consider expanding their offerings. “I feel like a facility that does not offer a fairly thorough inspection to go along with their oil change program is doing a disservice not only to themselves by not being able to up sell, but they are also doing a disservice to the carrier,” Davis said.

Not only does the new system rate carriers, but it rates drivers as well. Woodford said the driver safety measurement component of CSA 2010will be used internally by FMCSA investigators during onsite carrier inspections to identify drivers with egregious safety records.

What’s more, violations will follow drivers through the Pre employment Screening Program that was mandated by Congress. Potential employers, with the driver’s written permission, can go into that system to see a driver’s past roadside inspection and crash violations across carriers. Crash data will stay in the system for five years and roadside safety violations will go back three years.

As a result, drivers may have more control over their vehicle now that they have a personal stake in its condition. “The driver has as much stake in that now because it affects the driver’s rating on his report. If he has a record that is all dinged up, no one else is going to hire him,” Gay said.

Davis anticipates an increase in roadside service calls. “In the past drivers would limp a vehicle from wherever they were into a repair facility, but they’re going to be unwilling to drive it now,” he said.

Increased driver interest may create a precarious situation for shops, which typically communicate with the fleet, not the driver, when determining what maintenance to complete.

“Now with CSA 2010, the drivers have a vested interest and are much more interested in what we’re finding. It is going to be more of a challenge to share with the driver what he needs to know,” said Ara Bagdasarian, executive vice president of truck service for TravelCenters of America (TA). “We’re trying to work with fleets to learn how they want us to handle the situation. We’ll want to make the fleet and the driver happy.”

Davis said knowing how much to communicate with a driver versus the fleet has always been a constant struggle for shops. “You can alienate the fleet when you talk with the driver because they feel like you’ve taken them hostage,” he said. “We truly drive to our locations that you speak with the owner and present them with what you have found and realize that at the end of the conversation, whoever owns that truck is going to make the decision of what is going to get done.”

To help fleets navigate CSA 2010 requirements, Boss Shops, part of the Bossleman family of companies, has created a CSA 2010Quick Inspection—a minimal inspection that evaluates 10 items on the tractor and seven on the trailer, such as lights, airlines, brake pads and the tread depth on tires. Randy Haines, service center division manager for Boss Shops, said the inspection also includes a visual and audio inspection and techs will listen for air leaks, look for windshield cracks and ensure the fire extinguisher is charged and properly secured.

TA is also offering a streamlined CSA 2010 inspection. Bagdasarian said, “We don’t have a huge demand for it right now, but we expect we will as we get closer and closer to people understanding what the regulations are.”

To help drivers better understand the regulations, TA distributed hundreds of CSA 2010 handbooks at the Mid-America Trucking Show, and locations have played an informational CSA 2010 video every Thursday at 2 p.m. for the past several months. “Some places are serving popcorn and offering beverages and snacks,” Bagdasarian said.

Boss Shops is selling CSA 2010 manuals produced by J.J. Keller and has copies on its counters for drivers to look at. AMBEST is also selling J.J. Keller manuals and has placed laminated posters at their facilities.

Sources told StopWatch that educating the shops’ staff is a stepping stone to educating drivers.

“The training we’ve done to educate our locations on CSA 2010 regulations has allowed us to have an easier conversation with the customer because we don’t have to go out and learn these things. We already knowthem,” Davis said.

Bagdasarian said TA is educating its employees on CSA 2010 and may incorporate specific CSA 2010 information into its formal training.

Bagdasarian stressed the partnership role truckstops play with their customers. “Our job is to serve our customers and we will do that in whatever way they need,” he said.


This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazineStop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations and provides context on trends and news affecting the industry.

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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