Trucking companies and drivers who want to remain competitively viable need to ensure they are on the right side of the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program as even a modest series of violations can tangle carriers in an “enforcement web that can almost impossible to escape.”
That was one of the lessons shared during a CSA-focused trucking panel at the 2014 McLeod Software User Conference in Washington, reports Fleet Owner magazine.
“Drivers especially need to understand how CSA violations impact them,” noted Bassett. “If you just get two or three CSA violations, you can’t work for a good carrier – and it is very easy to catch [a violation],” said Dwight Bassett, senior VP and CFO for flatbed carrier Boyd Brothers Transportation.
From Bassett’s perspective, it’s not enough to review your overall CSA score periodically, but fleets should monitor CSA track record by points on a daily basis. Boyd then extrapolates the daily data out on a trend line for the rest of the year to see if the fleet is moving in the right or wrong direction in terms of safety compliance.
“If you … slack off on drop yard checks, pre-trip inspections, and PMs [preventive maintenance], it’s amazing how fast you will be targeted for frequent inspection. That’s also true if you don’t closely watch your hours of service (HOS) logs, especially if you are not using ELDs [electronic logging devices],” he told participants.
Making drivers an integral part of CSA compliance is critical, added panelists Robert Bowman, president of R&L Truckload and R&L Global, and Harry Kimball, director of safety for refrigerated carrier Transco Lines. The companies tend to give drivers bonuses or pay-per-mile upticks for maintaining clean inspections or exceeding safety compliance metrics.
But the first “ line in the sand” in achieving CSA compliance is a company’s hiring and training standards, said Kimball:
“You can’t trade the [CSA scores] of 500 good drivers for one problem. Our job is to make drivers better.”
At the same time, if a driver adamantly contests a negative CSA score, Kimball believes it’s the fleet’s duty to back them up 100% if upon analysis the driver is in the right. “They [the drivers] have to know that, if they are right, we’ll do everything in our power to back them up.”
When it comes to CSA, tt’s the series of “little things” that make a big difference in the long run, says R&L’s Bowman.
“There are no ‘home runs’ in trucking; just a lot of base hits,” he said. “That means you need to do the small things up front.”