The Secret To Keeping Your CSA Scores Low!
We are often asked “how do I lower my CSA scores?” This question usually comes after Carriers have been refused a load or lost a contract because their scores were too high. The answer, of course, is that there are no quick fixes or shortcuts.
Lowering CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) scores and keeping them low takes commitment to safety by the entire organization. Other necessary elements include knowledge about what is being measured, adequate and frequent training of personnel, creating and following procedures and constant follow up. Lowering scores takes time and not repeating the same mistakes. Setting up, implementing and maintaining the proper safety procedures, known as “Best Practices,” will keep CSA scores low over the long term.
Implementing Safety Best Practices is not an easy task and when done correctly, touches every person involved in your organization, including owners, drivers, dispatchers, mechanics, supervisors, fork lift operators and administrative staff. Even adopting procedures that involve your customers, insurance company and vendors can help.
When looking for a place to start implementing Best Practices, consider that 25% of all roadside inspections are initiated because the enforcement official visually observes a defect on the truck. These roadside inspections result in 75% of all written violations. Using these statistics it’s easy to see that reducing visual defects could reduce the number of inspections received by one‐fourth. If you are not being inspected, you are not receiving violations!
It stands to reason that if an enforcement official can see a defect, why can’t the driver? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations outline a mandatory visual inspection process by drivers that include
pre‐trip, post‐trip and Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR). Building Best Practice procedures around these visual inspection processes makes sense to not only comply with the regulations but will get the driver to fix the defect before the enforcement official sees it!
Consider these Best Practice policies and ideas for your organization:
- Establish a culture within your organization that the pre‐trip, post‐trip, and DVIR process is extremely important to your company and is mandatory, without exception.
- Make sure your drivers are properly trained and periodically retrained on what to look for in pre‐trip and post‐trip inspections.
- Have a process that tracks the written DVIR document, audits for completeness and notifies you when drivers fail to turn one in. The written DVIR is only required for companies with more than one driver and only when defects are found but its importance makes it a great idea for the owner/operator as well.
- Make sure the driver knows exactly what to do when defects are found so that the problem is fixed prior to becoming a violation.
- Have a notification process in place so that when a mechanic performs a repair that should have been listed on the DVIR but wasn’t, or a violation was written for a pre‐trip inspection item, the owner or safety director is contacted.
- When drivers miss visual defects, meet with them, and make sure they receive proper training (along with documentation) to ensure this does not happen in the future.
- Periodically conduct spot checks on the truck for any issues that may have been overlooked by the driver. If drivers know that you will be checking up on them, they will do a better job.
- Randomly place some sort of sticker or marker in various locations on the units that the driver should see if he/she does a proper pre‐trip inspection. Reward those who find the markers. Follow up with those who don’t!
Best Practices don’t have to be complicated but without them, a company will struggle to survive in this highly regulated and competitive industry. Starting or enhancing your best practices around the pre-trip, post‐trip, and DVIR process will make a positive, long term impact on your CSA scores.
For more information or for questions, contact Alex at 503-607-1088.