CSA: The math

| 3/16/2010

Motor carriers know that getting cited for having improper window tint isn’t nearly as serious as falsifying logbooks and violating hours of service.

Fortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials claim they understand that, and all inspection violations will not be treated as equal in the new CSA 2010 enforcement program.

Without getting into a bunch of computer or mathematical jargon, simply put, some violations will do more damage to a motor carrier’s profile than others.

For example, old violations will not hurt your record as bad as newer ones. Violations shown to create a bigger risk of crash involvement will count heavier.

FMCSA also recognizes that even good companies may have an occasional horrible inspection. The data will be limited as to how much damage one poor inspection can do to a company’s record.

The agency is also mindful of an inspection with a bunch of minor violations – like getting four window tint violations on one inspection, one for each window.

In cases like that, FMCSA officials have put a limit on the number of violations from the cited reg that will be counted against the company.

Owner-operators running under their own authority know that by nature they have fewer inspections every year than a mega carrier. And simple percentage math tells you that one marginal inspection out of a dozen is going to hurt a lot more than one marginal inspection out of a hundred.

That’s another thing that FMCSA officials recognize. So, once all of the violations are weighted for severity and time, limited on repetitive violations and all of that, the end result for a motor carrier will be compared against motor carriers that are about the same size with the same number of inspections.

For the owner-operator, that means your level of compliance will be compared to other one-guy, one-truck or outfits that get inspected about as often as you do.

In the end, FMCSA officials set up the system so it will give a good snapshot of overall compliance when compared to similar motor carriers.