Fleet Safety – “3 Tips to Improving Your CSA Score”

The motivation behind the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative is clear – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), state partners and the transportation industry want to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes, fatalities and injuries.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) calls it a “change to save lives,” and that’s something everyone can support. Let’s review three tips that your company can put into practice to help protect drivers and the traveling public – while helping you improve your CSA scores. It’s a classic win-win.

1. Know what the top violations are

Defective reflective devices – or lights that just don’t work – are one of the biggest CSA violations. Other frequent violations include running on tires with tread depth less than 2/32 of an inch and operating with:

  • Brake connections that have leaks or constrictions
  • A damaged or discolored windshield
  • Inoperative turn signals
  • A discharged or unsecured fire extinguisher on the vehicle

2. Once you know, take action

It’s one thing to learn what the most common violations are – that’s a great first step. Now, take the next step. Put your knowledge into action. Determine the areas of concern for your company and:

  • Implement written procedures and follow them
    Where to start? Your initial written procedures might cover driver selection, orientation and annual qualification procedures, along with vehicle inspection procedures.
  • Make pre-trip inspections a priority for managers as well as drivers
    Do your managers regularly review operations to make sure pre-trip inspections are performed as required? The responsibility for these critical inspections falls on both drivers and managers.
  • Look for patterns of violations for drivers, locations and vehicles
    Before you assume anything, take a good look at the situation. Do you see a trend with the driver or the situation? Was there a similar problem with the truck earlier in the week? Was it ever resolved? Keep track of all the parts – people, places and equipment.
  • Reward patterns of good behavior
    Applaud your best drivers – and, if possible, give them a bonus along with a pat on the back. These drivers become the role models others want to emulate.

3. Use the online resources offered

Given the importance of CSA to the transportation industry and the traveling public, a wealth of CSA resources are available online. For example, you can use the DOT’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) to rate prospective drivers on safety.

The FMCSA also provides your Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores online. Check these scores monthly, and be sure to challenge any inaccurate violations or collisions.

Visit Ryder’s CSA Resource Center for additional training and information. The resource options range from safety training to a CSA handbook, from products for cargo security to reflective products. Ryder’s CSA Resource Center also links to a self-assessment survey, allowing you to find potential issues.

Remember, there’s more than a number on the line here: Improving your CSA score helps ensure that drivers and the traveling public live to drive another day!


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