Moves by the federal government to improve safety in the commercial trucking industry are working, at least according to the carriers impacted most by the changes.

The American Transportation Research Institute recently conducted a survey of commercial trucking carriers to determine their opinion of the new Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program, which the federal government introduced to replace the SafeStat program. The majority of carriers felt the new system was an improvement and that it made the commercial trucking industry safer than before.

The survey also found that the biggest complaints with the new CSA system came from commercial trucking carriers that had the most violations, but overall, the opinion of CSA was positive.

The survey also found that most carriers had a strong understanding of the new regulations, meaning communication efforts have been successful in reaching out to carriers about the specifics of the CSA system.

“Its first year of deployment seem to have been successful, as carriers were generally knowledgeable concerning specific details of the program,” ATRI said in a release about the survey.

CSA was implemented in late 2010 and introduced many changes than the previous SafeStat program. The CSA compiles data of various violations and inspections and issues scores to carriers based on successful compliance with federal trucking regulations.

“Since CSA began, more than half of the motor carriers surveyed indicated that they have elevated or otherwise altered their hiring standards,” the report said. The report also stated that 90 percent of commercial trucking carriers reported the new pre-employment screening process provided by the CSA program.

The federal guidelines like the CSA are putting a stronger emphasis on safety practices and many commercial truck carriers are being more selective about which drivers they hire due to the detailed scoring system of CSA. Carriers stand to be at a larger risk than ever before for hiring drivers that are not safe and habitually violated safety regulations.

Because carriers are being more selective of whom they hire applicants with professional training and experience are given an advantage. The penalties for safety violations are steep and the CSA does a better job of tracking each violations. A carriers business and license are at stake, so drivers that value safety and understand the rules of the road are often picked before others. That is especially the case as many commercial truck carriers are desperate to hire more drivers as a shortage continues to plague the nation’s trucking industry.

This is one reason CDL training programs like those at the Diesel Driving Academy are a good place to start when embarking on a career as a commercial truck driver. Students receive detailed instruction on safety regulations and requirements and are some of the most attractive candidates to carriers concerned with maintaining safe records of service.