Last week I was on an airplane heading home from the left coast. We had just reached an acceptable altitude to make use of my electronic equipment.
Turning on my iPad (Apple stock is still undervalued), I connected to the in-flight Wi-Fi (another great technology breakthrough) and planned on catching up on the latest blogs and news from the trucking industry. I also plugged in my noise cancelling Bose headphones and hit shuffle on my music app. Of all the songs to start with, up popped Whitesnake and "Here I go Again".
"I don't know where I'm going, but I sure know where I've been hanging on the promises in the songs of yesterday and I've made up my mind I ain't wasting no more time here I go again, here I go again..."
The lyrics to that song and CSA have a lot in common. Blog after blog talked about the changes to CSA and the creation of the new Haz Mat basic.
So here we go again, more changes to CSA. Haz mat haulers unhappy, Open Deck haulers very happy. The FMCSA has gone on record as saying that one of the motivations behind the changes is to correct the unfair bias against Flatbed carriers in the Cargo Basic. Steve Bryan from Vigillo ran some numbers and he confirmed why they are so happy – Migrating non-Haz Mat cargo violations to the vehicle maintenance basic … virtually eliminates cargo violations as an issue or does it?
Bryan also said that cargo securement violations of his more than 2000 trucker clients used to be the number 1 violation in the now defunct cargo basic, but has dropped to 41 in the revised vehicle maintenance basic. Talk about being lost in the shuffle.
"Though I keep searching for an answer I never seem to find what I'm looking for Oh Lord, I pray you give me strength to carry on 'Cause I know what it means To walk along the lonely street of dreams..."
So the question I ask all of the happy Open Deck Carriers is what has really changed? Motor carrier enforcement officials will still target open deck loads because its easy pickings. Open deck where they can see all of the cargo and tarps that flop in the wind or that nice dry van with the big lock on the back?
To answer my own question, yesterday I traveled in Indiana thru Gary and I counted a total of 6 trucks pulled over on I-80 by State Police and all 6 were open deck. Most cargo securement violations are still worth 10 points each which means 10 x 3 is still 30 points per violation.
"Here I go again on my own Going down the only road I've ever known Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone And I've made up my mind I ain't wasting no more time..."
So while the changes favor the open deck carriers today, don’t be surprised if somewhere down the road the FMCSA changes their mind and makes another over correction especially after a couple rolls of steel come tumbling off their deck and onto the highway because of securement issues!
For me, I don’t lie awake at night thinking about a worn or torn placard on the side of the trailer but that unsecured 6 ton roll of steel, that’s another story. Next song up – "Changes" - David Bowie.
"I still don't know what I was waiting for and my time was running wild…."