The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is pushing back the start date for its new Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010) program to November this year – a full five months past its original June kick off date – to give itself and the trucking industry more preparation time.

“We’re not ‘pushing back’ CSA 2010’s start time per se – we’re still launching it in 2010 as intended,” Candice Tolliver of the Dept. of Transportation’s office of public affairs, told FleetOwner.

(More from the FMCSA)

“We want to put out the best rules possible, making sure they are as complete and thorough as we can and incorporate all the feedback we’ve received from stakeholders,” she explained. Tolliver noted that FMCSA is currently incorporating the findings from over 30 months of testing in nine CSA 2010 pilot states.

CSA 2010 is designed to make it easier for FMCSA to identify the riskiest motor carriers through the use of more “real-time” safety data. Roadside inspection reports, violations, accident records and other safety-related information that is currently stored in a variety of different individual systems will be collected into two distinct databases-- one for carriers and one for drivers.

(Norm Ellis of Qualcomm talks about CSA 2010)

That data will then be divided into seven specific categories – dubbed “Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories” or BASICs – allowing FMCSA to quickly pinpoint developing safety risks, with the resulting safety ratings based on the individual categories rather than overall performance. Failing just one of two specific categories — the ones largely based on traffic and hours-of-service violations — will lead to an unsatisfactory rating even if everything is fine in the other six.

Unlike the current SafetyStat rating system that can be based on very old historical information, the CSA fleet and driver data will be updated monthly. That means one bad month can quickly change a fleet's rating, a rating that is publicly available to shippers and any other interested party. And that data will be held in a fleet's record for two years and a driver's record for three. The one exception is accident information, which will be kept on file for both fleets and drivers for five years.

The Unsafe Driving and Fatigued Driving categories are particularly important because a poor rating in either one will result in an overall poor safety rating for the fleet, noted Dave Kraft, Qualcomm’s senior manager of governmental affairs. “FMCSA is serious about getting the bad actors out of the industry,” he said. “The thing to remember is that each of the seven BASIC measurements will be updated monthly and you can fail in any one.”