Bypassing weigh stations using PrePass is a game-changer for qualified motor carriers of all sizes. After all, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calculates that every successful bypass saves a motor carrier an average of five minutes in time, a half-gallon of fuel, and another $5 in operational costs. Those savings really add up quickly.

What’s more, university research shows that shippers prefer motor carriers who participate in a bypass program. Bypass programs only allow participation by demonstrably safe carriers – a feature shippers appreciate. And the time savings with each bypass means that the participating motor carrier will operate more reliably. Looking from the other direction, what fleet would not prefer customers who know and understand a good trucking operation?

But is this the right time to apply for bypass service? Isn’t FMCSA redoing all the CSA safety calculations? Wasn’t the agency asking for input on Universal Electronic Identifiers last fall?

Now is a good time – because there is never a bad time to improve your fleet safety. Improved safety may qualify your fleet for PrePass, but, even more importantly, improved safety saves lives, saves money, avoids crashes, retains good truck drivers, and brings more business. So, start now!

As for FMCSA changing safety calculations, the revamp of the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program is, at present, just a proposal. You can learn more about the proposed changes by logging in at the CSA Prioritization Preview website. You can see how the proposal would change your current safety score, and you call also send FMCSA your comments on the proposal by May 16, 2023.

One thing you may experience bears the truth of that old adage: the more things change, the more they stay the same. FMCSA may be proposing changes to the overall CSA program, but the process of calculating a fleet’s Inspection Selection System (ISS) score – the number which drives bypass program qualification – falls outside of the proposed changes. Yes, FMCSA may adjust some safety inputs, but motor carriers can start on fleet safety improvements right now, knowing their efforts will help their ISS score.

Improving your ISS score is a four-step process:

  • Understand that FMCSA looks at safety events over the past 24 months. The more recent and severe the safety violation, the greater the impact on your score. That’s called “time and severity” weighting – something FMCSA now proposes to enhance further. Look first to recent and critical safety problems, such as crashes. Be sure to challenge any non-preventable crashes – the ability to challenge crashes as non-preventable doesn’t change in the new CSA proposal. The older, less severe violations will eventually “age out.”
  • Seek out opportunities for “clean” inspections. Yes, implore your friendly inspector not to wave you through but to go over your truck and driver when all is in order. FMCSA will prioritize carriers who do not have a sufficient number of inspections. The more clean inspections you have, the more past violations will be diluted in the ISS calculation.
  • While you are on the CSA Prioritization Preview website, make a note of any current “alerts” in your safety profile. An alert means your fleet is at or above the FMCSA “intervention threshold” for that safety category. These alerts tell FMCSA where to examine your fleet; they also tell you where to focus your immediate attention.
  • No alerts? Great! Turn your attention to the three safety categories where FMCSA places greater mathematical weight: “Unsafe Driving,” “Hours of Service Compliance, and “Crash Indicator.” Improvements in those categories will disproportionately improve your ISS score.

We hope to welcome you soon to PrePass, the bypass home of safe carriers.

The PrePass blog and podcasts are published as a public service of PrePass®, the most reliable and technologically advanced weigh station bypass and integrated electronic trucking toll payment platform in North America. PrePass also includes INFORM™ Safety and INFORM™ Tolling software for improving truck safety scores and lowering toll costs.