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How to Avoid CSA Points and Keep Your Bus Fleet Safe

undefinedBus drivers and fleet carriers get assessed Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) Points based on the matrix of severity (predictions of future risk) in that system. Additionally, these severity points are multiplied by time-weight points up to three times for violations within the last six months and up to two years. Three times for a violation in the previous six months, two points from six to twelve months, and face-value 12-24 months. Drivers will maintain those points up to three years; however, a fleet’s points disappear after two years.

CSA Points Apply to Drivers and Bus Fleets

CSA points for violations and crashes are both used to rate bus fleet safety. More severe violations and crashes will be given a higher rating. Older violations and crashes are assessed fewer time-weights so that your percentile is less than newer violations. Regular maintenance, proper rest, and installation of safety equipment can help you prevent CSA points for bus fleets.

Drivers and fleet managers should consult with a traffic ticket lawyer regardless of how small the points assessed. High CSA Point totals are further weighted against the carrier’s exposure. This is a complicated formula based on “exposure,” which basically measures miles driven versus the number of buses or trucks in the fleet compared to other fleets. High percentiles can trigger interventions and inspections by the FMCSA’s Safety Management System (SMS).

Although a lawyer cannot get CSA points removed, an acquittal on the charges can result in your ability to remove them using the secure FMCSA Data Qs. Reduced charges or a change to the original charge can also get reductions in the system.

Additional Violations with CSA Points

Towing or Fatigue

Towing a loaded bus or operating a bus while tired could be a ten-point violation.

Generally, traffic tickets could lead directly to an inspection. The government takes safety seriously - one conviction or paid fine (which is also a conviction) could cost you your livelihood. You have worked hard to earn a living driving a bus. Don't allow one mishap to ruin your career. A good traffic ticket lawyer can handle any ticket.

No School Bus Endorsement

Operating a school bus without an endorsement could be an eight-point violation.

Hours of Service (HOS) Rule Violations & CSA Points

HOS regulations stipulate 10, 15, and 60/70-hour rules, driving after those thresholds could lead to an assessment of seven to ten CSA points. For example, you can drive a bus up to 10 hours after an eight consecutive hour break (no work allowed, must be free to do as they please, even when that is in a sleeper berth). A driver can work a combination of driving and moving packages or doing paperwork, etc. for up to 15 hours. A passenger bus driver can drive no more than 60 hours for all companies or bus fleets you are employed with when they operate on a seven-day schedule, or 70 in an eight-day period.

Note:A sleeper berth split into two breaks is legal if neither is less than two hours.

Defective Front Brake Line

If you don't have a front brake line, this is a four-point violation. Twenty-five percent of all violations are brake system related.

Heater Fuel Tank Location

You must properly place the bus heater fuel tank or get assessed a three-point violation.

No Seatbelts

Improper aisle seats that could block passenger egress in an emergency and seatbelts not getting installed could lead to a two-severity-point violation assessed to bus fleet owners.

Unsafe Operations

There are plenty of one-severity-point violations, including unsafe bus operations. This could be assessed with a traffic ticket. If you do not follow proper bus safety rules, then you might be assessed an infraction.

Other one-point violations could include standees forward of standee line, obstructed exits, inadequate emergency exits or improper exhaust.

Driving a bus is a critical responsibility. If you have a traffic ticket, you might need to find a good lawyer to save your job.

The Importance of Consulting a Lawyer about Roadside Inspection Violations

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, to discuss bus driver or fleet violations. Not every case is “winnable,” and when yours is not, we will tell you straightforward, “Pay the fine. It’s the cheapest route.” However, that’s rarer than you would think because there are many technicalities in traffic law, and we have practiced only that for more than a decade. We represent CDL holders, and bus fleet owners in Central Valley Traffic Courts like Lamont, Bakersfield, Mojave, Ridgecrest, Delano, Porterville, Visalia, Hanford, and Fresno, plus SoCal in Barstow, Paso Robles, LA, and Santa Clarita.

Se habla Español 661.349.9755.

Send an email to attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The FMCSA Hours of Service website

The drivertraction.com article “CSA Violations & Scoring”