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The weigh station, or “chicken coop” as many truckers call it, can be a risky place to pick up Hours of Service (HOS) violations and Compliance, Safety, & Accountability (CSA) severity points. Those severity points can be multiplied by one to three time-weight numerators to produce a percentile the FMCSA Safety Management System (SMS) uses to decide which carriers need more inspections and interventions.

Certainly, a law enforcement officer’s (LEO) stop or accident could lead to someone looking into your log and adding CSA points for HOS violations, but most are gathered at the weigh station when an inspector finds form and manner and other HOS violations in your log.

How Do HOS Violations Affect Your Score?

Once the carrier’s percentile is derived by multiplying the severity score by the time-weight factor, the average number of trucks/buses and the total miles driven are factored to get a percentile. When your percentile is between 50 and 100, the carrier's DOT number is targeted for more inspections. If your carrier has a number between 75 and 100, you can bet your drivers will get flagged into every chicken coop along their route.

You might think, so what, it doesn’t affect my CDL, and it only takes a few minutes to show my paperwork, and I’m usually on my way. Until the weigh station is understaffed, and there are 6 or 8 trucks backed up. But more inspections are not the only aspect affected by those high percentiles; those also affect:

  • Fleet insurance and eventually your pay
  • Turnover
  • Reputation and thus the number of loads available

Therefore, every driver should try to minimize their CSA points. Although the carrier is most affected by CSA points, the driver’s actions are the ones that are actually most often responsible for getting CSA severity points.

Form & Manner HOS Violations

The most common HOS violation is the Form & Manner violation, and the easiest to prevent. This is particularly true now with all trucks running with the electronic logging device (ELD). Actually, 70 percent of all HOS violations are Form & Manner violations.

Many of these are permanent entries in the log, such as:

  • Carrier Name
  • Carrier main office or headquarters address
  • Vehicle number
  • Miles drove for that day
  • Co-driver’s name
  • Driver’s signature
  • Shipping document number
  • Current date
  • Remarks

The first three will likely not change. Most drivers have a routine to check these entries after they’re finished with the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). Since the DVIR must be completed before and after each trip, and before continuing a trip, this is probably the best habit to get into to ensure it is done.

Each omission is one CSA severity point, and an old log is five points. Then, there’s the 13-hour violation, which is seven points, and an 11-hour violation is another seven points, as is missing a 30-minute break before the eight-hour mark of starting duty (but a DUI/DWI is only five?).

Missing logs are almost a thing of the past unless the ELD malfunctioned, and you did not print out the previous seven days of logs and start a manual log. If your ELD is not functioning, you’ll have to reconstruct the logs you don’t have to come up with seven days. A missing log is five more severity points.

After all this, the inspectors will inspect the truck, so there is a possibility of many more CSA points besides the HOS violations. At least those will be in another BASIC category. When you get HOS violations, contact a traffic attorney to challenge those violations.

Traffic Attorneys Who Handle HOS Violations & Traffic Tickets in Truckee, CA

Your call to Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, is free and without obligation to discuss your specific situation. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We handle only traffic issues. We can represent you to resolve roadside violations, traffic tickets, oversized vehicle violations, and DMV NOTS Hearings. Additionally, we can help you prepare the documents necessary for a Request for Review on DataQs.



The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf articleHow CSA Points Affect Truckers articleCSA: Skipping Your Break Is Worse Than DUI article6 Common HOS Violations

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