Letters: A True Leader, CSA 2010 (Cont.’d)

These Letters to the Editor appear in the March 1 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

A True Leader

Iowa’s trucking industry lost a dear friend and valued leader this past week. John Ruan was one of the three founders of the Iowa Motor Truck Association. (Click here for previous story.)

In 1942, Mr. Ruan felt that the industry needed a voice at the Capitol, and, within weeks, he had other trucking leaders committed to the idea, and the association became a reality.

Almost immediately, the association became the respected voice of the industry, in no small part because of the involvement by John Ruan.

He personally directed the efforts with legislators and regulators and made it his personal goal to navigate the young organization through its early years. His hard work, leadership and unwavering commitment to the trucking industry enabled him to quickly build a strong membership and a united organization.

His tremendous dedication to IMTA was always present in those early decades; he personally provided the financial support to pay the bills and cover the payroll expenses as the association faced some difficult times in the 1940s and 1950s.

Over the years, the trucking industry faced numerous challenges and Mr. Ruan’s leadership was always present through his involvement with IMTA. It was known that the association could rely upon Mr. Ruan’s organizations for whatever resources were needed to get the job done — and for that support, we are eternally grateful. A unique supporter such as Mr. Ruan enabled the association to prosper and flourish and, even more important, provide services, support and leadership to an industry that today employs one in every 11 people in the state of Iowa.

With time, his direct involvement was minimal, but the Ruan presence and the philosophies Mr. Ruan instilled always have been the constants that proved to be a valuable anchor for an industry and an association that faces continual change. Even today, Iowa’s trucking industry holds great respect and appreciation for Mr. John Ruan.

Not only did he have the foresight and the vision to create an association that has been able to serve the trucking industry for more than 65 years, but more important, he set the standard an industry continually aspires to uphold.

Without question, Mr. Ruan’s scope of influence is much larger than most, and his achievements and accolades span far beyond the trucking industry. But it is with great pride that many truckers recall and remember Mr. Ruan’s roots in the trucking industry and his widespread influence on the trucking industry in the past and yet today. It is because of his tremendous influence that Iowa’s trucking industry expresses its sincere thanks and appreciation to a man who left a footprint on an industry and an association that will be felt forever.

Brenda Neville
Iowa Motor Truck Association
Des Moines, Iowa

CSA 2010

With the implementation of CSA 2010 — the Comprehensive Safety Analysis program created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to replace the old SafeStat system — the government seeks to provide performance criteria that favor the biggest carriers and discriminate against the smallest (2-8, p. 1; click here for previous story).

Misuse of SafeStat has been a huge barrier to success for the approximately 100 people a day who get FMCSA operating authority. Although otherwise useful and appropriate, SafeStat contains an Inspection Selection System score that essentially ranks motor carriers according to government inspection frequency.

A carrier’s score number is supposed to be only for internal government use, but making it public has created the impression for shippers — and people like me who load carriers — that the government is ranking carriers, making one appear to be better than another.

The ISS score seems to suggest a correlation between high-percentage inspection numbers and claims for loss, but there is no such correlation. This works against newer, smaller motor carriers because they start out with a large number and a “conditional” Department of Transportation rating and consequently get less freight than larger, more established carriers.

The resulting loss of profit represents an unlawful “taking” under the U.S. Constitution.

The smallest carriers, which typically deliver freight straight through without handling — thereby lowering the percentage of cargo lost — have a higher degree of driving and cargo-handling skill because they own their own equipment.

CSA 2010, although it means well, should not be misused the way SafeStat has been. The government should eliminate from CSA any form of rating based on inspections. The idea of listing safety deficiencies is good, and those who purchase transportation can make up their own minds about who to hire.

Government never should be in the business of endorsing one motor carrier at the expense of another. The public is certainly capable of evaluating carriers and selecting the best trucking purchases for their needs.

If the government implements CSA 2010, the system should be used internally and only for inspections.

All trucking safety and driver statistics should be available online to everyone, as they are now, without revealing a specific carrier’s inspection percentage. The federal government is out of the business of regulating the economics of trucking, and CSA 2010 is an incompetent economic regulation masked as a “safety” issue.

David Dwinell
Master Broker