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Driver Awareness–A Key for CSA Control

Drivers need to understand how CSA works.  Absent that understanding, they are doomed to continue the conduct that builds up their points and your scores.

I speak at driver meetings two or three Saturday mornings a month.  It is an opportunity for me to share information and provide education.  In return, I am provided a very hearty, often unhealthy, breakfast.  I never decline.

After the meetings in which I discuss CSA, I am often approached by the drivers.  They me that I had dispelled many of the myths they had heard about the system and their scores.  For example, many don’t appreciate that points come only from roadside inspections.  Tickets in their personal vehicle have no CSA impact.  Even tickets in their CMV don’t hit the CSA score sheet if an inspection report was not completed.

Drivers too frequently view CSA points as being beyond their control.  They see them as matters of fate and destiny.  A frequent comment is, “So if a light goes out when I’m running down the road and I’m pulled over, I’ll get CSA points for something I can’t control?  How’s that fair?”

I first remind them that I did not create the system.  I then use the opportunity to teach them the most important aspect of CSA.

You do not have to outrun the bear.  You just need to outrun the other companies’ drivers.  All drivers run the risk of a light going out on the road or a mudflap coming off.  They need to appreciate that they can decrease their odds, and increase their position as to others.

First, pretrips need to be more than 15 minutes on their logs.  Check for those lights and mudflaps before they hit the road.  These are readily apparent items that can result in being pulled over with a level one inspection performed.

Second, avoid form-and-manner log violations.  Violations for incomplete logs needlessly hemorrhage points.  Even with electronic logs, make sure they have the explanation card in case the inspector wants to check it out.

Third, watch speed.  In many states, police need “probable cause”, a legal excuse for pulling over a driver.  This is often found in even the slightest excess of speed.

A national company that analyzes CSA data for companies has found that 80 percent of the points come from these types of violations while only 20% come from roadside checkpoints.  For the most part, they are avoidable.

Drivers can make the difference in your CSA scores.  They appreciate that the points will follow them on their PSP reports.  Your education and assistance will be appreciated by them and beneficial to you.

Doug Marcello

Doug Marcello

Doug Marcello is a transportation attorney who has earned his CDL. His law practices focuses upon serving the trucking industry. Based in Central Pennsylvania, he has represented trucking companies in cases throughout the US, having been specially admitted in 35 states. He is a frequent speaker at industry events and driver safety meetings. He has also written numerous articles concerning issues confronting the industry and has produced several DVDs relating to accident response and aggressive defense of claims.
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3 Comments » for Driver Awareness–A Key for CSA Control
  1. Ray Haight says:

    Great information Doug, simply said there is no need for a victim mentality, the destiny of individual CSA scores is still in the drivers hands.

  2. Angelo Diplacido says:

    Assuming that there is a victim mentality comes from the structure at your end of the spectrum which is far removed from the act of 1000 kms per day and is hardly objective. Expecting perfection from mere mortals for the slightest of indiscretions or imperfections while affecting the reputations of CVOR’s , be they company or driver, may compromise employment and business. Rarely are the naturally occurring incidences while in transit considered. Consider the human element of 16 hours a day and it may be quite possible to unintentionally omit an innocuous entry into a log book. Consider the condition of roads in Canadian frost zones which affect steering and suspension components or the use of calcium chloride which destroys external electrical components in any assessment of the facts. Consider the training that insists on graduated licensing for motorcycles, but nothing for new truckers. There are variables in this equation that appear to be conveniently omitted which make good people just walk away from this job. I think a better definition is somewhere between “Victim mentality” and “Survivor.” Real dangerous operations or operator are really obvious, but trivialities, signals a pattern, fine, or shows the big picture.

  3. Andy Blair says:

    Perfection is certainly not an expectation , but doing the BEST you can do IS.

    While virtually ever driver on the road is going to have CSA points on their record…thats the norm. Having some CSA points is not going to harm any individual driver or carrier. The individuals who are not doing their best and those that dont seem to care will gather the MOST points and gather the MOST attention. Carriers who don’t do their best ( pay attention to every DOT inspection ) or don’t care ( dont even know what their BASIC scores are ) will end up with high(er) OOS percentages , high Basic scores , a red light ISS score and will most certainly attract the attention of officers.

    I am a retired Police Officer / Mcsap Officer. I used to run DOT numbers on trucks and look for the red light ISS scores / high OOS ratings and high BASIC scores. Since I was fishing , I wanted to make sure I wasn’t reeling in minnows.

    No carrier / driver will find themselves with bad scores overnight. It takes time to build up your score and time to get it back down. Constant vigilance on the part of the drivers ( pre/post trip) and the carrier ( reviewing each inspection report along with regular maintenance) will go a long way to ” flying under the radar”.

    When I did speed enforcement , I could have stopped a LOT of cars doing 10 and 11 over. But I wanted the BIG fish. I wanted the 15-20 + over.

    Having some CSA points and moderate BASIC scores is COMMON. I didn’t want to waste my time with carriers that were doing a pretty good job. Drivers / carriers that ALLOW their scores to get high , do so at their own peril and are virtually asking to be stopped more and for a DOT intervention/ audit to come their way.

    Maintaining a fleet is a constant job. You can never achieve Nirvana on maintenence.

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