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Invitation to Discuss SMS (Safety Management System) Issues

Jim McCormack

The importance of both companies and drivers being aware of new regulations that affect their operations cannot be overemphasized.  While truckers are working on the road, they depend on their representatives (i.e. ATA, Teamsters, OOIDA, State Associations, and others) to keep them aware of what is going on with new regulations and changes that affect their livelihood.  Records show that over 6,000 regulations were issued in a 3-month period.  Some of these affect truckers.

As mentioned in previous articles, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has formed a number of agencies to make sure that truckers comply with the government regulations as well as general safety procedures.  Currently all information regarding truckers and trucking companies is being compiled in a government database under the SMS (Safety Management System).

At the current time both drivers and companies are invited to log in and see what the issues are that appear on their records.  FMCSA states the following reasons for checking in:

correct organizational problems, train drivers, or take other appropriate measures to improve safety.

Request corrections to any inaccurate data, in particular, motor carriers should focus on ensuring that information related to placardable Hazardous Materials inspections is correct, and

Provide feedback to FMCSA about refinements they think should be made before the changes are implemented.

The deadline for submitting comments on the above is July 30, 2012. There is an invitation for motor carriers to attend a webinar that will explain the SMS changes on:

Tuesday, June 26, 1.00 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Wednesday, June 27, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time

Thursday, June 28, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Registration is required for one of these sessions at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/CSA_Feedback.aspx.

The unreliability of the CSA (Compliance Safety Accountability) structure was noted from the offset by the ATA as well as other trucker organizations.  They immediately noted the flaws that are unfair to not only truckers but the trucking industry as a whole.  A major complaint was, as ATA CEO Bill Graves said, "…recently our members have become concerned that the agency has become increasingly unresponsive, even in the face of data and logic."  Of special concern is the unreliability of accurately recording crash responsibilities.  Everyone who can needs to express their concerns in these the webinar discussions.