Data: Fleet maintenance rising to meet CSA challenge

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Updated Sep 11, 2013

Speaking as part of Technology and Maintenance Council’s annual Fall Meeting in Pittsburgh, Carrier Safety Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) administrator Ann Ferro says maintenance stands supreme when it comes to compliance and low scores with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA).

“When you think about putting CSA in the context of safety, maintenance is at the foundation of that effort,” Ferro notes. “FCMSA’s number one goal is safety: we want to insure that every trip is a safe trip every time. And we think CSA is bridging multiple worlds in that process. And the nation’s fleet maintenance professionals deserve a lot of credit for that; making older equipment work safely while learning to understand and use new technology in pursuit of low CSA scores and consistent safe vehicle operation.”

Since its launch in 2010, Ferro says the trucking industry has seen the most dramatic reduction in roadside violations in more than a decade, with vehicles violations per roadside inspection down by nearly 14 percent and driver-specific violations per roadside inspection down 17 percent.

Panelists – which included Eric Benge, senior regional maintenance manager, Walmart Transportation, Tim Staroba, director of maintenance for Con-way Freight, Ed Boles, director of maintenance for D&D Sexton and Corporal Richard Koontz with the Pennsylvania State Police – all agreed that successful integration of, compliance of, CSA regulations has required cultural shifts inside their organizations. The result, Jeffress noted, has been a consistent weeding out of poor performers in all areas; from drivers to technicians to fleets down to the law enforcement officers carrying out vehicle inspections.

“Before CSA, we were using behavior-based safety programs,” said Staroba. “It was a very punitive system when things went wrong. But then we realized that our people weren’t the problem. It was our processes. So, in order to comply with CSA, we changed them. Now, we seek to involve the guys who actually do the work or drive the trucks. We’ve got them involved in writing processes because they do the work. So now, the rules for everything we do are written by the people who do the job. It was a major cultural shift for our company.”

Benge says procedural changes were also necessary at Walmart Freight in order to meet CSA requirements.

“It was really more of a communication problem for us,” he said. “We payed a lot of attention to roadside failures and breakdowns. But a lot of that information flowed back to our Safety Department and wasn’t getting communicated to our maintenance people.

Benge says the company began to work on that communication in order to start driving some improvements and directly address its CSA scores, implementing new procedures and policies based on that information.

“Drivers now have ownership for violations,” he says. “So we’ve made sure they understand that better communication — particularly with maintenance — is key to preventing and handling these issues.”

Koontz says the Pennsylvania State Police conducted 120,000 vehicle inspections last year, with about 40 percent of them resulting in a cited violation.

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