Improve Your CSA Scores with these Tips

In view of a growing industry of businesses running commercial vehicles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) believed a program was required to maintain safe roads. Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) is a complex program that was passed by the Senate Assembly and is now the barometer used to gauge the reliability and safety of a commercial fleet.

As most businesses know, lower CSA scores are favorable. Businesses strive to keep their CSA scores to a minimum as this is a sure fire way to not only attract more customers and better business opportunities but also reduce any road safety and compliance issues.

There are seven BASIC categories that contribute to CSA scores. The system through which these scores are calculated is a little complex and therefore you should rather focus on ways to improve your CSA scores. In this blog, we will talk about a few simple ways that can go a long way in helping you improve your CSA scores.

ELD Compliance

Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is a digital system used to maintain logbooks. According to the ELD mandate, as of December 2018, all commercial vehicles that fit into a broad category require ELDs to be installed. ELDs track various statutory regulations that need to be complied with and have a huge impact on your CSA scores.

An ELD device allows businesses to keep a close eye on Hours of Service (HOS) and they can track when a driver is reaching their limit. A study has shown, the top contributor to violations assessed during roadside inspections are out of service vehicles and drivers driving even after exceeding their limit.

Many times businesses do not even know that drivers have been driving beyond their limit because of disingenuous drivers that log in incorrect information in their logbooks (written in hand) and drive on longer than they should be to meet deadlines. This issue can be completely eliminated by using ELDs as many important data points can be tracked live.

ELDs also help compile information in an organized manner and archive data for any future use. Therefore, ELDs are invaluable in ensuring CSA scores take a hit due to easily avoidable violations and they also promote a safer driving environment.

Pre And Post Trip Maintenance

A statutory requirement, businesses need to complete pre and post trip maintenance for every trip they take on. Vehicle maintenance violations can make a huge dent on CSA scores and hence these periodic maintenance checks allow you to stay on top of any small issues that may crop up with your vehicles.

According to road safety experts, a few common parts to look at closely include:

  • Vehicle Lights – Broken or dysfunctional headlights and taillights are one of the most common violations that regulators notice during roadside inspections.
  • Worn Tires – Tire related violations carry one of the highest penalties as an addition to CSA scores. The issue is that they are hard to locate so drivers and maintenance personnel need to pay special attention and inspect tires to keep them in the right working condition.

Driver Clearance And Medical Violations

It is important to keep track of a driver’s statutory documentation like commercial driving license, its expiry date, if they have been renewed, medical certificates, etc. Not only are these important compliance issues but also very important road safety issues. An ill or medically unfit driver driving a heavy vehicle with precious cargo is highly unsafe and puts the lives of everyone at risk.

Improve Hiring Process

According to the FMSCA, businesses that use the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) reduce the number of citations they receive by almost 20 percent. Safer drivers also help greatly reduce road accidents.

Effective communication is an important skill that drivers need to possess and there are many other such soft skills that go a long way when dealing with authorities. Some of the key soft skills include:

  • Ability to fill out paperwork in the right manner
  • Ability to effectively communicate with DOT officers during inspections by having a clear understanding of the processes and vehicles.
  • Speaking fluent English

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