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Using Roadside Inspections to Improve Your CSA Score

undefinedThe Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Brake Safety Week is scheduled for the 23rd through the 29th of August 2020. Despite the raging pandemic, the CVSA will conduct its annual brake week.

Somewhere around 13,000 inspectors will set up roadside inspections across North America to check brake adjustments and other items that may put your commercial motor vehicles (CMV) out-of-service (OOS). The days before this Brake safety Week could be critical to fleet Safety Management System (SMS) percentiles.

CSA severity scores could rise dramatically if CVSA agents find maintenance shortcomings and put your CMV in an OOS status. FMCSA CSA scores take a big hit with an OOS order. The OOS order adds ten CSA points, and the inspection results could add many more depending on the deficiencies noted.

2019 CVSA Roadside Inspection Results

If last year’s inspection results are any indication, nearly 20 percent of vehicles and 5 percent of drivers could not proceed on their routes until deficiencies are corrected. In 2019, the CVSA inspectors put 17.9 percent of CMVs and 4.2 percent drivers OOS.

Last year’s focus was steering and suspension. The focus this year on brakes is an area that is always in the top tier of severity points for CSA violations. Brakes, tires, and lights are consistently the top three maintenance issues.

During a three-day ramped-up inspection of nearly 67,000 CMVs, inspectors put 12,019 CMVs and 2,784 drivers OOS. The most significant shortcoming for drivers was driver fatigue.

The VP of Fleet Safety at SMS360 and veteran CDL holder, Robert Petrancosta, told a Fleet Owner journalist, “I know of drivers that take off during that Roadside Inspection week. If I’m a driver, I want to be inspected during that time because I know ahead of time what they’re looking for.” Can you think of a better method of improving your CSA scores? Before 23 August, I would have maintenance ensure my brakes were 100 percent inspection ready, then go out there and get a CVSA decal.

Use Fatigue Management to Reduce CSA Points

Although fatigue is often a matter of opinion, the inspectors are “always right” until proven otherwise. It is extremely difficult to prove an inspector wrong after they make the call. Seriously, how could you prove you were not too tired to drive?

Your best defense is to put a fatigue management plan into effect well before the inspection week and ensure drivers stay well below the maximum driver hours whenever possible. Another consideration is the mandatory 30-minute break, take it as close to the mid-point of your driving/duty day as possible.

Other driver weakness areas included wrong license or endorsement class, safety belts, cargo securement, and suspended license.

Before heading out on a trip that will keep you on the road during 23-29 August, make sure all these areas are checked.

What to Do about Roadside Inspection Violations in the Truckee, CA, Area

When you get a traffic ticket or roadside inspection violation at the weigh station on the Donner Pass call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We are a CA traffic law firm that offers CDL holders a free initial consultation.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

The CVSA.org article, Brake Safety Week is Set for Aug. 23-29

The Transport Topics article, 2019 Roadcheck Nabs 17.9% of Vehicles and 4.2% of Drivers

The CSA.FMCSA.DOT.GOV Fact Sheet.pdf

The Fleetowner.com article, Learning to Embrace Roadside Inspections