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NATSA Conference 2016 – Day 1

September 19, 2016

Written by Casey Bullard

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Today at the NATSA meeting, we talked about safety a lot. Highly experienced agents are talking about both what the law says in theory, and also what’s happening in the real world. My key takeaways??

  • Enforcement and Law Makers aren’t stupid. They can tell when they are being lied to, and as such the penalties for “willfully and knowingly” breaking the rules are tough. These folks believe strongly in the rules, because they effect everyone’s safety on the roads – not only trucks – and they want to make the roads safe.
  • Inspections may be your friend. If you can get a clean inspection, that’s the best thing to help improve or fix your CSA Score. It takes 18-24 months to fix a score but the more inspections you get during that time the better.
  • There has to be accountability throughout the whole organization – from the CEO down to the driver. If everybody doesn’t understand and agree to follow the rules, you’re going to have violations on your BASICs. This is EVERYTHING from pre-trip inspections to HOS to efficiency and maintenance. The point is for the whole organization to be a team for safety, not to constantly pitting dispatchers and drivers against each other.

Big Data

There was also a LOT of conversation about data. Steven Mandell said, “Do you want to help the carriers?? Help them control the data.” There are vast quantities of new data available. Leveraging that data to help the carrier can save them money in accidents, with fuel costs by improving MPG, and the list goes on. Nobody knows everything, but the data is making it easier to know more, and to know specifics. And the more you know, the more you can minimize all kinds of risks. If a dispatcher knows which driver is breaking too hard, they can retrain that driver and maybe prevent an accident. When the insurance agent knows the safety history of a truck they can offer a less expensive quote. When an IFTA agent has ready access to the GOS data, they can mitigate audit risk and minimize taxes. Harnessing this data can only make things better.

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