CSA Scores - A Definitive Guide for trucking companies

by ManagerPlus on July 2, 2019
Fleet Maintenance Toolkit

Let’s talk about your CSA score

CSA is FMCSA's data-driven safety compliance and enforcement program. Today, if you have a DOT number, you have a CSA score chart. CSA stands for Compliance, Safety, and Accountability, and your CSA score matters. The score is measured on a scale from 0 – 100, and the lower the score, the better.

CSA scores for trucking companies are based on BASICs, which stands for Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category. These eight BASICs each can give you points if you don’t fulfill their requirements. While some of these BASICs depend purely on the behavior of your drivers, others depend on your ability to track different aspects of your fleet. This means that keeping your CSA safety score low can be complicated, but crucial to your operations.

What happens if my CSA score is bad?

Having a high CSA score for trucking companies can result in an intervention by a Safety Investigator. These interventions can include any of the following:

  1. Warning Letter
  2. Increased Roadside Enforcement
  3. Focused off-site investigation
  4. Focused on-site investigation
  5. Cooperative safety plan
  6. Notice of violation
  7. Comprehensive on-site investigation
  8. Notice of claim, penalty, and settlement agreement.

Now, of all of these, only the last one seems like an actual penalty with fines. However, many of the downsides to a bad CSA score come in the form of delays and reputation loss with your clients, both of which can be surprisingly costly.

A Safety Investigator won’t revoke a CDL for a high CSA, but the delays and damages should not be underestimated. Investigations take up time and can reveal further items you’ll need to correct. The Cooperative safety plan is usually the follow-up to an investigation and will require you to take even more time to figure out how to improve your performance. For your drivers, Increase Roadside Enforcement can add hours to their downtime as they must be submitted to DOT inspections while on the road.

None of this even looks at the effects that a low CSA score for trucks will have on your clients. CSA scores are a matter of public record, and your clients can use them to compare you with your competition. If your truck's CSA score is too high, you could lose clients to other companies who can prove their safety record better than you.

So, the question is, what can you, as a fleet manager, do to keep your CSA low?

Let's look into how a powerful asset management platform can help with  fleet maintenance so that you can keep your truck's CSA score low.

How can Asset Management help me keep my CSA low?

One of the BASICs on which your truck's CSA score depends is the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. Points here come from a failure to properly maintain a CMV and prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and overloading of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). However, a powerful fleet maintenance software can help you with all aspects of this. When you track all your work orders, you have a comprehensive record that can demonstrate all of your preventive maintenance and corrective efforts to keep your assets in top working condition. You’ll also have a regular schedule to send you notifications when your PMs come due. You can also see all inspections that have been performed and the results of those inspections.

Those inspection records can also help out with the Hazardous Materials Compliance BASIC.  This BASIC gives points for unsafe handling of Hazardous Materials. If you are diligent in your inspections to make sure you are safe, ManagerPlus can back you up with documentation.

ManagerPlus can also help you to track your employee training and certifications, which falls under the Driver Fitness BASIC. This BASIC gives points for operation of CMVs  by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. All training and certifications can be tracked, including expiration dates so you know when it’s time to retrain or get new certifications.

Remember that a powerful enterprise asset management software can help you track work orders and inspections. These are most often going to be maintenance related. However, these can also be related to safety and operations. You can perform inspections on improve. You can also make work orders to remind you to renew registrations and update information.

ManagerPlus can help you keep your truck's CSA score low. This can be further enhanced with our API and Connectors which can further integrate your other fleet management tools (like Geotab) into the ManagerPlus platform.

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