Before CSA went into effect, there were plenty of dire predictions about the number of drivers the new safety rating system would wash out of the workforce.

According to a recent survey of motor carriers conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute, however, CSA has impacted driver hiring far more than it has increased firing frequency. The survey turned up other surprises about the impact of CSA on carriers as well.

First, when it comes to sacking poor performers, 89.7% of the 695 sampled carriers reported terminating 5% or less of their drivers as a result of CSA. So it seems as if the mass purging of the driver pool has not occurred as predicted.

Under CSA, however, a carrier's ability to hire new drivers does appear to be more challenging, the report notes. Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed carriers acknowledged that CSA has made it more difficult to hire drivers, due to the increased scrutiny now required.

“Since CSA began, more than half of the motor carriers surveyed indicated that they have elevated or otherwise altered their hiring standards,” the report states. “For instance, nearly 70% of carriers have begun using the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) as part of their hiring process. PSP is the congressionally created program that allows prospective employers to access data on driver applicants' crash and violation history for a $10 fee per driver, although drivers must give permission…

“Overall, 33.8% of carriers reported that the amount of money being expended on recruiting new drivers has increased as a result of CSA. In addition to the costs associated with PSP, 17.3% of carriers began offering new hiring bonuses to attract top-tier driver candidates and 16.5% raised starting pay.”