More Proof That CSA2010 Is A Joke

I received a copy of my CSA Score this morning. I have a 27.

5 points from a speed WARNING I received in July 2010. It will fall off this year.

Two entries worth 7 and 15 points are from a roadside inspection in New York last April.

It is my opinion that 5 points for a warning is just simply unfair, especially considering that the category reads "UNSAFE." The context of that warning is that I was on a two-lane highway in Kentucky rolling down hill. He said he pulled me over for 63 in a 55. Please keep in mind that trucks are very heavy and gravity makes it go faster downhill. The cruise control on a truck is set so that when you reach 2 mph over your set speed (in this case probably 57), the computer starts to engage the engine (Jake) brake in stages starting with the lowest stage and then to the highest stage (2 cylinders to 4 cylinders to 6 cylinders). So in this case, the jake would start to engage at 59 mph, reaching full engine braking by 63 mph. My habit is that once it gets to stage 2, I will apply the brake pedal because I know the Jake is not going to hold me back under the limit I need to be (5 miles over the limit, or 60 mph). You can easily deduce that if I don't make it to the brake pedal fast enough, I can very easily get over the limit. So yes, I was speeding, but was it a situation where I was barreling down the road with total disregard for the public safety? Absolutely not. The officer that pulled me over was a Kentucky Motor Carrier Enforcement officer. Trucks are his main business. I'm sure he understands the physics involved, which is why I got a WARNING and not a CITATION. CSA2010 makes the assumption that ANY TIME a driver is speeding they are "unsafe" which is simply not true. The truck I was driving at the time was governed at 62 mph.

Now onto the Level 3 inspection I received in New York.

I received 22 points on my CSA score from this inspection. I was NOT found to be out of compliance on ANY issue. I did receive a number of warnings, and those were delivered by the officer as "Hey man, here's some things that are close you need to get fixed." Again, I was NOT cited for anything he found on his inspection. Here is a breakdown:

1) My fire extinguisher was not fully charged. Note: In 15 years of driving, I've NEVER used my fire extinguisher. History and experience also tells me that once one of these things catches fire, you're next move is to RUN! To hell with the fire extinguisher.

2) Some time before the inspection, I had a brake chamber rupture in Mississippi. I found a farm implement repair shop and they replaced it. What I did not know at the time is there are two kinds of air brake chambers: long stroke and short stroke. Trucks can have either kind, but they must match on each axle. The one that was broken was replaced with a short stroke. That left me with a short stroke on the right of the forward drive axle and a long stroke on the left side. This is not a safety issue, but regulations state that they must match - two longs or two shorts. This is no way diminished my braking ability, but needed to be corrected.

3) Mud flaps on big trucks don't last very long. They're pretty easily ripped off. My driver's side rear mud flap had been recently replaced. The technician that replaced it did not put a reflective stripe on top of it, something I didn't even know was a rule. I was told it needed to be addressed. Again, nothing that would hamper the ability of my truck to safely travel down the highway.

4) He suggested that I raise the airlines of the pigtail (air and electrical lines that feed the trailer) a few inches to insure that they did not come in contact with the catwalk behind the tractor.

5) He pointed out a scrape in the rubber hoses on the trailer air lines. He noted that they needed to be watched as they MIGHT wear out prematurely.

These are the issues that gave me 22 points.

This is what you need to keep in mind when you hear that a coal mine received a certain number of "violations." The same goes for the score a restaurant receives as a score from the Health Department. Having worked in restaurants, I have seen the nit-picky useless violations assessed by bureaucrats for government agencies designed to "protect" the public. Whenever there is a perceived problem, the government runs in and says, "See! They had "violations." We did our job to protect you!" If you want to know if a restaurant is clean, check the bathroom. That is the first place I go in an unfamiliar restaurant. If they keep the bathroom clean, they'll keep the rest of the place clean.

I am now in a position where if I sneeze and cross the center line by a few inches, that will be an erratic lane change and I'm done. I've just found out today that the seatbelt ticket will cost me about $1,000 to get it off my record.

The bottom line is that if you as an individual think that CSA2010 is making the road you travel on any safer, or it will remove "unsafe drivers" from the road, frankly you're an idiot. Your best bet when it comes to your safety is that YOU alone are in control and you alone are responsible. All these ridiculous programs will do is cost good people their ability to earn a living.

Posted on April 19, 2012 .