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Bits & Pieces

Volume 17, Edition 2

I don’t know about you but I am done with this winter weather. Spring cannot come soon enough. February is a short month and I feel like I was just writing January’s report.

TRAINING AND INFORMATION SESSIONS – Here is the schedule and links for registration for this month’s training and information sessions:

Focus Training – Wednesday March 12 at 2:00 PM EDT – This month we will have a specially designed session for people involved in claims that will show all the ways the CAB website can be used for claims to help achieve better results. This special session will be led by Jean Gardner. –

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/413093200

CAB Basic Training – Thursday March 13 at 2:00 PM EDT –

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/573678697

Agent Advantage Preview – Wednesday March 19 at 2:00 PM EDT –

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/774081873

SALEs Preview – Thursday March 20 at 2:00 PM EDT –

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/434724089

This month we report:

CSA – This month we saw conflicting reports by government agencies on the success of CSA. The Government Accountability Office released its report on the FMCSA’s CSA regulatory compliance measurement program concluding that the system has some problems. The report indicates that small carriers are ‘disproportionately’ affected by the results, concluding that many motor carriers lack sufficient safety performance information to ensure that FMCSA can reliably compare them to other carriers.  The GAO found that the FMCSA attempts to compensate for the variances in inspection levels by grouping motor carriers with similar inspection rates in groups within the BASICs categories. Carriers are then compared against other carriers in the same group and ranked based off the violation data of the other carriers. The GAO recommends that the FMCSA conduct an analysis that identifies the limitations of the inspection and crash data used to calculate CSA scores.  A copy of the report can be viewed here.

The FMCSA released its own report which concluded that SMS was more effective at identifying commercial bus and truck companies of all sizes for targeted enforcement than the system it replaced. Researchers analyzed the association between historical carrier data and future crash involvement by taking two years of pre-SMS safety data for a subset of carriers, running it through the system’s algorithm, and then following those companies’ crash records for eighteen months. Results show that the companies the SMS would have identified for interventions, such as roadside inspections, warning letters and on-site investigations, had a future crash rate of more than double the national average. In addition, 79 percent of the carriers that SMS would have ranked as high risk in at least one of the seven safety categories it monitors, had higher future crash rates compared to those it would not have identified. A copy of the report can be viewed here.

DRUG AND ALCOHOL CLEARING HOUSE – The FMCSA released its proposal for a drug and alcohol clearinghouse that would store positive drug and alcohol test results; adulterated, substituted drug test results; test refusals; and successful completions of the return to duty process following a positive test result for drivers.  The reporting requirements are for prospective and current employers, medical review officers, consortiums, third-party administrators and substance abuse professionals. In the case of owner-operators, the agency is proposing the mandated use of a consortium or third-party administrator to complete the reporting requirements to the clearinghouse. The FMCSA is asking for comment on the question of whether positive results should be held for 3 or 5 years for drivers who come back to work and indefinitely for drivers who do not.   Motor carriers would be required to check a driver’s records in the clearinghouse before hiring the driver and to require rechecks on existing employees annually.  Drivers who do not provide consent to employers for searches of the clearinghouse will not be allowed to conduct safety-sensitive functions, like driving a truck. It will be set for public comment shortly.

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Volume 17, Edition 1

Welcome to 2014.  In looking back over prior year end reports it seems that the last few years the New Year sentiment was one of simply “holding on” and hoping for the best.  This year it feels like more people are actually looking forward to an upturn in 2014 for the transportation and insurance industries.  There is a general cautiousness, likely associated with the apprehensions we all faced these last few years, but the overall mode is positive.  While insurers and motor carriers change and reformat their business plans they continue to remain dedicated to staying in their respective industries.  We are thankful that you do!

For CAB, the start of any year gives us a moment to reflect on how we have changed and to focus on plans for the future.  We remain excited at the new features and enhancements that we have put into place and promise that you can expect more this year.  Feedback is really important to us.  Most of the new features came directly from suggestions that you made.  As other groups involved in the transportation and insurance industries have turned to us to get the CAB Advantage, we look forward to the new ideas that they bring to us and will continue to work at a fever pitch to implement as many of the ideas as we can.  Whether you operate as a motor carrier insurer, a motor carrier, a shipper, a broker, or any of the other businesses that utilize motor carrier information, we will continue to strive make your life easier in evaluating and monitoring commercial motor carriers.

CABs LAB: By now, those of you that frequent our Carrier Search page will have noticed the dramatic changes that were released at the beginning of the new year. One of the most popular functions of the search tool is the ability to quickly identify associations and relationships between entities. With this new release, all names, addresses, phone numbers and emails can be viewed directly in the search results together with the sources of the information. We’ve also enhanced the ability to search for multiple matching entities with a single click. Make sure to tune in to this coming month’s Focus Training webinar to see all the details and to view them in action first hand. Details for signing up for the webinar are below.

We have a number of training and information opportunities up-coming. Our regular monthly CAB Basic Training will be on February 11 at 2:00 PM EST. The link to sign up for it is: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/204883385. The Focus Training session in February will be on all the new features of the Carrier Search introduced above. It will be on February 12 at 2:00 PM EST. The link to sign up for it is: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/246035041. There will also be an informational demo and training session for retail agents. Underwriters may want to pass this on to their retail agents who do not already take advantage of our AgentAdvantage program. Agents who use the AgentAdvantage program are able to present better and more complete applications to underwriters. The session for retail agents will be on February 13 at 2:00 PM EST. The link to sign up for it is:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/281831040. Finally, looking ahead to March, on March 12 at 2:00 PM EST there will be a very special Focus Training session specially designed for people involved in claims that will show all the ways the CAB website can be used for claims to help achieve better results. This special session will be led by Jean Gardner and the link to sign up for it is:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/413093200.

This month we report:

TRUCKING BANKRUPTCIES – We also take a moment to remind you how important it is to monitor the financial stability of a motor carrier.  Our analysts stand by ready to assist you with our comprehensive review of financial statements. Financial statements (balance sheet and income statement) can be emailed to ratings@cabadvantage.com for review. Avondale Partners reports that failures rose to the highest level in more than three years during the fourth quarter.  A total of 335 fleets with 7,775 trucks failed during the fourth quarter, the highest since the third quarter of 2010 and more than double the 150 carriers and 2,515 trucks in the final quarter of 2012. Failures also rose from the 2013 third-quarter total of 235 carriers and 4,985 trucks. A total of 21,775 vehicles were removed from the road in 2013. Financial instability has long been linked to reduced safety performance. The breakdown of the ratings distribution for carriers reviewed by CAB is available here.

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