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Improve Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety with CSA Scores

The federal program known as Compliance, Safety, Accountability or CSA score, considers motor carriers organized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as its top priority.

Are Your CSA Scores Where They Need to Be?

Without a doubt, your CSA scores are extremely important to your company. In case you are not familiar with the acronym, CSA is an FMCSA initiative and stands for Compliance, Safety, and Accountability. Introduced in December 2010 as a means to improve commercial motor vehicle safety, the program tracks company safety performance. While there are a number of different safety violations that are tracked via this important program, in order to improve CSA scores, it is imperative to understand the four main safety violations committed by drivers in the industry. The four main safety violations include:

CSA Driver Log Violations

Log violations account for approximately twenty-five percent of all vehicle violations.  Of these log violations, “log not current” and “form and manner” violations are the most prevalent violation types. With respect to CSA points, a “log not current” violation accounts for five CSA points while a “form and manner” violation accounts for one CSA point. In order to prevent these types of violations, drivers must fill in all the information that is required in a timely manner. To help drivers with this task, first and foremost, it is vital that the drivers know exactly what information they need to fill out in their logs. Moreover, these same drivers must ensure that the information shared in the logs are kept current. If there are drivers that repeatedly make log errors, it may be a wise idea to retrain these individuals so that they understand exactly what is expected from them. In order to streamline things for drivers, it may also be a good idea to look into implementing more efficient electronic logs or printing out common log entries that can include addresses.

CSA Tire Violations

Tires account for just over ten percent of all vehicle safety violations. Of these violations, approximately fifty percent of all the violations deal with tire treads and can amount to eight CSA points. According to regulations, steer tires must possess a tread depth of 4/32 of an inch while all other tires on the vehicle must have a tread depth of 2/32 inch. In order to prevent this type of violation, once again, it is important to conduct both pre-trip and post-trip tire inspections. Moreover, the drivers should be properly trained with regard to how to check tire inflation with a proper gauge. Additionally, it is vital that drivers know when a tire should be replaced with a new one for both their own safety and the safety of everyone on the road.

CSA Brake Violations

Approximately twenty-five percent of all vehicle safety violations deal with brake issues. More specifically, each brake violation amounts to four CSA points and there are over one million of these types of violations. Though brakes should be inspected before and after each trip, only properly trained drivers are able to conduct brake adjustments when needed. Thus, drivers should be properly trained in how to detect a brake defect and know exactly when they should seek out professional help with brake issues. Additionally, drivers should know that the only way to properly discover a brake adjustment is to measure the stroke in a careful manner. Moreover, an automatic adjuster will not fix problematic brakes; in fact, there is a chance that such adjuster will worsen the brake issue.

CSA Lighting Violations

As broken lights are quite visible to inspectors, it is not surprising that almost thirty percent of all safety violations deal with broken lights and/or reflectors. Moreover, since the broken lights are so visible, these types of violations can also result in further “more hidden” safety violations being discovered during the inspection process. A missing or broken light can result in six CSA severity points while missing reflective tape can result three CSA severity points for each and every violation.

In order to avoid being caught making this type of violation, it makes sense to inspect vehicles on a regular basis.  For the best protection, it is a great idea to conduct inspections both before and after delivery trips.  In this way, drivers can discover and fix inadequacies on vehicles before an inspector has a chance to inflict demerit points. Also do remember that while non-essential lights do not be have to working, any type of non-working light can attract the attention of an inspector. Moreover, since the current requirements indicate that spare fuses should be carried within vehicles, it is important to bring extra fuses.

Other Ways to Improve CSA Scores

As CSA scores were created with the purpose of keeping drivers, vehicles, and the general public safe, it makes sense to strive to improve these scores. Additionally, if your company does improve your CSA scores, you will also spend less time dealing with the FMCSA and save your company’s money in the long run.

Some ways to increase your CSA scores include the implementation of the following steps:

Discuss the Importance of Safety with Employees

While posting a safety-related sign on the wall is a good first step, in order to make it effective, you must make safety part of your company culture. In other words, your company must be constantly reinforcing the importance of safety, positively during the meetings, training, newsletters, and other correspondence with employees. Your company should also take advantage of all the resources that are available on the CSA site.

Properly Train Your Employees

While it is important that your employees understand the value of safety, they must also be properly educated if they are to implement safety precautions in an effective manner. That means, employees must also understand what the repercussions are if safety precautions are not implemented.

Take the Appropriate Action

Determine the most problematic areas within your company with respect to safety and then create written procedures that address these issues. Additionally, your company should make pre and post trip inspections mandatory for all drivers. Lastly, keep track of each individual driver’s violations, as knowing that this information is being tracked often, is an incentive for improvement when it comes to safety.

All in all, if you follow the above tips, your CSA score should significantly improve and the roads will be a safer for your employees and all motorists in general.

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