Nearly half of the truckload carriers polled in a recent survey said they were not prepared for new federal driver safety rules.
Smaller carriers are most unprepared for the Department of Transportation's CSA 2010 rules, says Transport Capital Partners.
CSA 2010 will tighten safety standards for carriers and drivers, and make it easier for DOT to identify and punish unsafe operators.
Carriers were certainly aware of the pending regulations -- only 2 percent said they weren't. But they're not sure how it will affect them or what they must do to comply with CSA 2010, according to TCP.
The vast majority of carriers surveyed by TCP expected to make at least some changes to comply with the rules, and 30 percent said they are already making changes in their safety programs.
"TCP's survey shows only half of the carriers have reviewed their SafeStat numbers to understand what (DOT) will be reviewing and about one third have already made changes in their safety programs," said Richard Mikes, a managing partner at TCP.
Only 17.5 percent of the carriers didn't anticipate changes, he said.
The survey found larger carriers were further along in preparing for CSA 2010, said Lana Batts, another managing partner.
"Carriers that have made changes are engaging in multiple initiatives," Mikes said. "This includes over 60 percent adding training so that drivers understand how these new regulations can not only affect their jobs but also their careers."
Carriers are changing their hiring standards, with 29 percent of those surveyed saying they've tightened requirements. The survey also found 41 percent of the carriers plan to change the way they monitor driver safety performance.
Carriers also were investing in new technology that will help them comply with the rules, and creating new incentives for drivers.
The survey results support calls for a delay in implementing the rules and more carrier education, said Batts.
The American Trucking Associations recently reported the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may delay implementing a portion of the rule. FMCSA said it would implement the rule in 2010 and said a schedule would be released within a few weeks.
"Delaying the implementation of the new regulations will address some carrier concerns and allow time for better understanding and preparation," Batts said.
Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.