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How to Use the DVIR to Curb CSA Severity Points

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The DVIR Is a Daily Requirement

Of course, truckers know that doing an inspection and filling out the DVIR before and after a trip is necessary. But how many novice drivers consider it a paperwork drill they do from the driver’s seat?

Actually, the after-operation check is essential to getting timely repairs. While you’re resting up and spending quality time with the family, fleet mechanics can take care of maintenance shortcomings you found.

The problem with doing your inspection from the driver’s seat is obvious to an experienced driver. You miss many minor issues and perhaps more significant maintenance problems that could otherwise be avoided.

Burned out lightbulbs, dirt-covered reflectors, and otherwise trivial issues add up very quickly at roadside inspections. Taking the time to correct these before you drive off can save you time at the “chicken coop” and CSA severity points.

Although a driver does not get the CSA points, which are assigned to the DOT number, they do get the penalty on their Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record for three years.

The FMCSA Safety Management System (SMS)

The FMCSA's SMS uses seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). These areas are:

  1. Unsafe driving
  2. Hours-of-Service (HOS) compliance
  3. Vehicle Maintenance
  4. Hazardous Material (HazMat) compliance
  5. Crash indicators
  6. Driver fitness
  7. Controlled Substances or Alcohol

When a driver gets a roadside violation, traffic ticket, or accident report indicating a violation, the information (in CA) is reported to the FMCSA SMS. It is then given a CSA severity point total.

If the driver has a previous violation in the same BASICs category, the time-weight multiplier is used. For instance, if the driver had a maintenance violation within the last six months, a new violation would result in the CSA severity score being multiplied by three. A one-point violation becomes three.

Likewise, a new violation between six months and a year would result in the CSA severity score being multiplied by two. CSA severity points that do not match a similar conviction within 12 months are added at face value, kept on file for the driver up to 36 months, and for the carrier up to 24 months.

Driver CSA Score Lookup

The truck driver’s CSA score is crucial to both the driver and the carrier. Each driver’s CSA violations add to the carrier’s score and percentile. Once a carrier reaches a percentile over 75 for DOT compliance, every truck using that DOT number will get pulled in for inspection.

Having a CVSA sticker will not even help much. A wise fleet manager knows each driver’s FMCSA CSA scores as well as their company’s percentile, and works to lower it by providing guidance and training to drivers.

As a CDL holder, you might ask yourself, “What’s my CSA score?”

It’s simple enough to check your own score on the USDOT FMCSA site: csa.fmcsa.dot.gov. Just enter your USDOT # and pin on the login page to find your score. Don’t have a pin yet? You can get one from the USDOT, and it only takes about a week.

However, CSA severity points for drivers are a lot easier to avoid than to lower. Start by doing a physical walk-around inspection of your truck before every trip and before continuing a trip.

Assistance with Traffic Tickets in the Roseville, CA, Area

When you need assistance with roadside violations, traffic tickets, at-fault accident decisions, or DMV NOTS Hearings call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We are a CDL holder-friendly law firm that practices only traffic law. Why is that relevant? We spend much more time in traffic courts hearing decisions on traffic cases that we can use to assist our clients than an attorney who practices many areas of law.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

The Balance.com article, A Guide to CSA Point Values and Transportation

The FMCSA webpage, How Do I Check My CSA Score?