The CSA program is used by the Federal and State DOTs to identify drivers and carriers who are more likely to have crashes. The program takes data from roadside inspections and crash reports, and puts it in a system where the violations and crashes are “scored” and compared with other carriers.
The CSA program separates violations into 7 BASICs (categories):
Unsafe Driving (speeding, following too close, failure to obey traffic control device)
Crash Indicator (tow, injury and/or fatality – regardless of who is at fault)
Hours of Service Compliance (log violations, form & manner, driving while fatigued)
Vehicle Maintenance (tires, lights, air leaks, slider pins) Alcohol (possession of alcohol, DWI)
Hazardous Materials Compliance (improper placards, no ERG, paperwork errors)
Driver Fitness (suspended CDL, expired medical card, not wearing glasses)
The more dangerous or serious the violation, the more points are counted against the carrier. Total’s scores are totaled up every month and compared to a group of carriers that are about our size, and we get ranked against these carriers. The higher we rank, the more likely we are to get pulled into scales for inspection, pulled over for roadside inspections, or even audited by DOT.
Everyone likes to get green lights at scales, since it saves you time and makes you more money. Low CSA scores help increase the chance you will get the green light, and will not have to stop for an inspection. Clean inspections help our scores, and are pretty easy to get if you follow company policy and DOT regulations, such as:
- Through pre-and post-trip inspections.
- Obey posted speed limits, lane restrictions, and scale instructions.
- As part of your pre-trip, make sure you have your CDL and medical card with you.
- Do not use alcohol within 10 hours of going on duty, and never have it on the truck with you.
- Keep your logs current, including your trailer number and BOL, and certify your logs DAILY.
- If hauling a Hazmat load, make sure to follow all company procedures.
- Drive defensively and keep plenty of space around your vehicle.
We have improved our CSA scores recently. Now we have to keep them in good shape. It requires every driver doing the right things right every day. Working together, we can continue to make this an even safer, more profitable company.