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New Safety Measurement System Drives Change for Iowa Motor Carriers

New Safety Measurement System Drives Change for Iowa Motor Carriers
Des Moines, IA, January 08, 2011 --( After months of anticipation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finally went live in December with its new safety measurement system – CSA, which stands for “Compliance, Safety, Accountability.” With the new system now in place, FMCSA officials say more than 500 Iowa motor carriers can anticipate a warning letter from the regulatory agency.

As part of CSA, the FMCSA issues an alert outlining compliance issues and necessary corrective actions for carriers found to be above threshold in one or more core safety categories. The agency uses crash data and all roadside inspection violations logged by law enforcement to rate carriers on seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) – Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours of Service), Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related and Crash Indicator. Motor carriers rating above threshold in one or more of these areas will be issued a letter that states the deficiencies and warns the carriers of a possible investigation if a corrective action plan is not implemented.

According to the FMCSA, the initial compliance ratings have been processed and the first wave of warning letters was recently distributed. Agency officials indicated that of the 500-plus Iowa carriers with above threshold ratings, approximately 175 were deficient in three or more of the seven BASICs.

“A lot of carriers are going to be contacted by the regulatory officials,” explains Iowa Motor Truck Association President Brenda Neville. “The new approach re-engineers the way our industry evaluates safety and it places an enormous amount of responsibility on carriers. It may be a bit unsettling at first, but the change is designed to create safer roadways and we can all get behind that mission.”

If a warning letter is received, officials from Iowa Truck Services (ITS) – the Iowa Motor Truck Association’s safety and compliance division – advise carriers to start by simply examining their CSA data and focusing their attention on the categories that are over or near the threshold.

It is important for anyone notified by the FMCSA to ensure the accuracy of the data, examine violation types, conduct detailed data analysis, address the identified safety issues and periodically review the safety measurement system data that is updated monthly. Effectively correcting the deficiency and lowering the CSA rating to below threshold will keep the FMCSA from intervening.

“Warning letters might be the best addition CSA incorporated into the regulation process,” said Don Egli, Iowa Motor Truck Association director of safety. “Unless they are found to be high risk, carriers can now take an unobtrusive approach to correcting their shortcomings before the FMCSA comes knocking on their door.”

ITS representatives can assist any size trucking operation with the proactive prevention or required intervention process to reduce the number of potential violations, which will lower and keep CSA ratings below threshold. ITS consultants accomplish this through cooperative corrective action plans, customized development of company policies, FMCSA compliance reviews, mock audits and proactive action plans.

“Iowa Truck Services can be a carrier’s best friend if the FMCSA ever alerts it with an intervention letter or investigation,” Neville said. “Whether you want to be proactive or need to be reactive, ITS can create best practices procedures that will help carriers avoid potential pitfalls that could be detrimental to their CSA ratings and operation overall.”

About Iowa Truck Services
Iowa Truck Services (ITS) is dedicated to providing private, for-hire and specialized motor carriers a full-scope of regulatory, safety and compliance services. A division of the Iowa Motor Truck Association, the ITS team offers industry-best practices, comprehensive safety services and tailored solutions to meet specific operational demands. From licensing and permitting to preventative training programs, mock regulatory audits and corrective action plans, ITS is driven to keep you on the road. For more information about Iowa Truck Services, contact the Iowa Motor Truck Association at (515) 244-5193 or visit

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Iowa Truck Services
Phillip Nicolino
Jeff Huggins

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