CSA: Where Road Safety Meets Logistics
Lots of change in the trucking world; currently we’re in an age of regulation.
The big focus is the recent and ongoing implementation of the new CSA (Controlled Substances Act) laws. Safety has long been an aim of multiple administrations, but the implementation of public safety objectives has typically been left to the states.
By and large this approach has worked. Despite more crowded highways, more construction zones and more trucking – the number and frequency of fatalities has consistently decreased over the last 10 years. Now the federal government is looking to create to drive safety to even higher levels, by ensuring that a consistent standard is developed, and enforced, across the entire country.
Government has done a lot of the “easy” things so far. Now, with CSA, bigger obstacles are being tackled.
They’ve come up with a comprehensive safety assessment putting numbers on performance and creating a level playing field for carriers to provide high levels of safety. Unlike the past, when rules applied to some people and not others, the federal government is working to apply rules evenly across the board. This change will force all carriers to raise their safety performance levels to standard currently implemented by only the better carriers.
Drivers will be held accountable for their actions, and trucking companies will be held accountable for actions and performance. And as this goes on, we believe shippers will also be accountable for their selection processes as to whom they select and why they selected them. We fully expect legal, regulatory and statutory implications (ie Sarbanes Oxley, etc.)
CSA will require a bigger focus on the safety component in the assessment of why you use certain providers. This will change the dynamics of the logistics industry, which has typically focused on a lot of transactions where the lowest cost bidder wins. Safety will become a much bigger part of the decision-making process on what providers to use.
This is good – for the country, for shippers and carriers – in the long run. The challenge for all companies will be staying ahead and managing the disruption over the next 3 – 5 years.