What are CSA scores?


CSA Scores

What are CSA scores?

CSA stands for compliance, safety and accountability. CSA scores are a system used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to identify high-risk motor carriers.

How are my CSA scores calculated?

Your CSA scores are based on multiple factors called Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or “BASIC” categories. Roadside inspection violations, as well as investigation results, fall under 1 of 7 categories, including:

  1. Unsafe driving – moving and parking violations, such as speeding, improper lane changes, no seatbelt, cell phone/handheld device use, improper parking, etc.
  2. Crash indicator – DOT reportable crashes (injury, towaway or fatality)
  3. Hours of Service (HOS) compliance – falsifying your record-of-duty status, inadequate paperwork for ELD, driving, on-duty and rest break violations
  4. Vehicle maintenance – mechanical issues and not making required repairs
  5. Controlled substance/alcohol – driving under the influence
  6. Hazardous materials compliance – unsafe or incorrect handling and/or documentation of hazardous materials, including improper or inadequate placards
  7. Driver fitness – Unfit to drive due to physical health or lack of training (sickness, no medical card, driving a vehicle you are not qualified to drive (i.e.- tanker with no ‘N’ endorsement, etc.)

Each time you get a violation, depending on the category and severity of the violation, points are added to your CSA scores, and range from 1 to 10 (less to more severe).

The “safety scale percentages” (CSA scores) in each category are compared to other motor carriers with similar registration information and range from 0 to 100 percent. You want your percentage or CSA score to be as low as possible. For example, a 5% score in “vehicle maintenance” means that your company is safer than 95% of motor carriers on the road.

The chart below lists some of the top unsafe driving violations that will affect your CSA scores.

ViolationSeverity/Points
Driving a CMV while texting10
Reckless driving10
Speeding: 15+ mph over limit or in construction zone10
Speeding: 11-14 mph over limit7
Driving a CMV without a wearing a seatbelt7
Failing to obey a traffic control device5
Following too close5
Improper lane changes, turns, or passing5
Failing to yield right of way5
Having or using a radar detector5
Speeding: 6-10 mph over limit4
Having unauthorized passengers1

Insurance premiums are a major contributor to trucking companies having to close their doors. As premiums increase, they will eventually get to the point of being unaffordable, causing many trucking companies to go out of business.

For this reason, it is important to note that receiving a warning for one of the above violations can still affect your insurance premiums. Just because you did not receive a ticket does not necessarily mean you are in the clear. In other words, a driver vehicle examination report, which is what an officer uses to report CSA violations, can be issued without a citation.

What do my CSA scores mean?

Your CSA scores are used to identify you as a safe driver or a high-risk driver, which can help or hurt you and your carrier in several ways.

  1. Insurance rates – The higher your CSA scores, the higher your insurance premiums, and the lower your CSA scores, the lower your insurance premiums.
  2. DOT audits and roadside inspections – The lower your CSA scores, the fewer compliance checks you will have, including DOT audits and roadside inspections.
  3. Clients – CSA scores are public and can be seen by current or potential clients. If you want to maintain or grow your client base, keep low CSA scores.
  4. Drivers – Having good CSA scores can help you retain current drivers and recruit new drivers. Good drivers want to work for a company that is safe.

How to check my CSA scores?

The FMCSA’s Safety Management System (SMS) website makes all data available and is updated on a monthly basis. To check the full details of your CSA scores, you will need your DOT number and your DOT pin number. This allows you to see “ALERTS,” which are a determining factor of FMCSA audit selections and are issued when a percentage score is over the limit for what the FMCSA considers safe.

Without your DOT PIN number, you cannot see percentage scores or ALERTS, as this information is not public, only the “raw data” is public. Your PIN is on the top left of your “New Entrant Audit” letter from the FMCSA. If you have this letter, it is important that you write down the DOT PIN.

If you do not know your DOT PIN number, contact us and we can retrieve it for you from the FMCSA for a very small fee.

If you drive under your carrier’s DOT number, your CSA score and any violations would be under their DOT.

How can I lower my CSA scores?

You can improve on your CSA scores by putting a system in place to check the BASICs regularly. Determine what categories you need improvement in and put training in place to improve in those particular areas.

Roadside inspections with no violations also cause your scores to lower faster. Violations will reduce in “severity” after 6 months, 13 months, and then are removed from your CSA record completely after 2 years.

If your CSA score is low, you can maintain it by hiring drivers with good PSP scores (the FMCSA pre-employment screening program, includes MVR information and all CSA violations a driver has had for 3 years), providing adequate on-board and recurring training, internal inspections, regular preventative vehicle maintenance, using an ELD solution to avoid maintenance violation, and consequences to drivers who receive violations.


July Spotlight: Brownsberger Transport Company


Brownsberger Transport Company, ELD mandate, HOS

This month’s CNS Spotlight is on Brownsberger Transport Company of Lititz, PA.

Andrew Brownsberger—owner and driver of Brownsberger Transport Co.—has been operating since 2010. As a car hauler for the thriving auto auction industry in central Pennsylvania, he has grown to a 4-truck operation with plans to grow further in the future. Andrew has watched the industry change in the last few years with a much higher focus on Hours of Service (HOS), especially after the ELD mandate took effect in 2018.

We sat down to ask him a few questions on how he manages his HOS scores, logs, and his drivers in an ever-changing trucking industry.

CNS: Andrew, what issues did you find regarding HOS rules prior to the ELD mandate last year?

Brownsberger Transport Company, ELD mandate, HOS

Andrew: I think the 30-minute break rule is unnecessary. I don’t feel like that creates safer roads or working conditions. I do agree with HOS; we don’t want people driving over 11 hours. I know from my experience that I would be tired after 11 hours of driving.

CNS: Do you find yourself having any issues after the HOS mandate?

Andrew: Yes, although I agree with HOS. Paper logs are easier to use for many reasons. But with the new technology it makes it harder to correct simple mistakes that happen.

CNS: What system do you have in place for checking logs for your drivers at your company?

Andrew: Pedigree for the ELD hardware and software and CNS for consulting.

CNS: How has the use of the Pedigree Technologies CabMate One helped you regarding staying compliant with the HOS regulations?

Andrew: It clearly lets you know if you are in or going to be in violation.

CNS: Do you have any suggestions for other carriers that may be struggling with HOS rules and regulations?

Andrew: Driver training and being able to manage your work time better is key. If you are having trouble with making changes within the culture, hire CNS.

Brownsberger Transport Company, ELD mandate, HOS


CVSA Brake Safety Week truck inspections, September 15-21


Brake safety truck inspection | Compliance Navigation Specialists

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced that their annual Brake Safety Week is scheduled for September 15-21, 2019.

In that time enforcement officials will conduct roadside safety truck inspections on commercial motor vehicles and will focus on brake hoses and tubing.

During last year’s three-day International Roadcheck enforcement campaign, 45 percent of all out-of-service vehicle violations were related to out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA), brake violations accounted for 6 of the top 20 most frequently cited vehicle violations in 2017.

What is covered in a roadside brake safety truck inspection?

Roadside truck inspections cover all areas of the air brake system; however, the CVSA will focus on brake hoses and tubing, ensuring that all are attached and secure, flexible, and free of leaks, corrosion, and any other type of damage.

Brake inspections consist of a visual check as well as an air brake test using a performance-based brake tester (PBBT) in the 14 jurisdictions where it is available. The performance-based air brake test measures the slow speed brake force and weight at each wheel and uses those measurements to determine the efficiency of the braking system.

According to the US federal regulations and the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, if your brake system efficiency falls below the minimum of 43.5 percent, your vehicle will be put out-of-service.

How can I prepare for a truck inspection of my air brakes?

You should inspect your air brake system and all brake components regularly to keep your vehicle in safe operating condition. The list below covers some items you can visually check on a regular basis to ensure they are securely attached, leak-free, and free of damage, such as corrosion and holes.

  • Air brake chamber
  • Brake hoses and tubing
  • Cotter pins
  • Clevis pins
  • Slack adjuster
  • Air lines

The CVSA has answered some frequently asked questions about your air brake system and inspection and have also provided an air brake inspection checklist, which is a great way to be sure you are prepared for your roadside safety inspection.

What should I know about my air brake system?

If you know your brake system you are more likely to know if there is an issue. You should know what size and type of air brake chamber you have and learn how to properly identify it. Most air brake chambers will have a marking on them, letting you know what type and size it is. If you know the type of chamber you have, you will also be able to determine the maximum allowable push rod travel for that brake chamber and whether it is in or out of adjustment.

What are some types of air brake chambers?

Common air brake chambers for the front are clamp type 20 or clamp type 24 and clamp type 30 is the most common for the rest of the tractor trailer and can be a long or regular stroke.

Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program in partnership with FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

Read about the 2018 Brake Safety Week results.

If you have any additional questions, call one of Compliance Navigation Specialist’s DOT Consultants .


Governor Wolf amends bill for the transportation industry


Cars on freeway | PA driver's license

Governor Tom Wolf increases fines for improper driver’s license

Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, signed in multiple bills on Friday, June 28, 2019. One of those bills, House Bill 384, is related to the transportation industry.

The bill was amended and may affect you if you are in Pennsylvania and work in the transportation industry or if you are an individual operating, hauling or towing oversized loads and/or vehicles.

The House Bill 384 was amended to increase the fine to $200 for driving a vehicle without the proper classed operator’s license.

Do I have the proper driver’s license?

There are many factors to consider when determining what type of driver’s license is required and this can vary by state. This bill only effects Pennsylvania residents, but it is important to be aware of the laws in your state.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident and are unsure if you have the proper license or believe you may need a CDL for the vehicle you are operating, refer to our previous post, Determining class of CDL required. Residents of all other states outside of Pennsylvania should research requirements in their state or contact us directly. Our licensing and permitting team can assist you with any further questions or concerns.

2019 IFTA Tax Rates (Q3)


Tax papers, IFTA Tax Rates

What are the 2019 IFTA tax rates for the 3rd quarter?

The International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) has released the fuel tax rates for the 3rd quarter of 2019. You can download the full list of 2019 Q3 tax rates below.

You can also find more information on the International Fuel Tax Association website.

Which states had tax rate changes?

There were seven states that showed a tax rate change, including Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia. IFTA lists the 3rd Quarter 2019 Tax Rate Changes, which will go into effect on July 1, 2019.

When are your IFTA taxes due?

The IFTA return due date for the 2nd quarter is July 31st. Take a look below for a list of IFTA fuel tax reporting for the each quarter.

  • 1st quarter (January to March) — April 30
  • 2nd quarter (April to June) — July 31
  • 3rd quarter (July to September) — October 31
  • 4th quarter (October to December) — January 31

CNS Spotlight featuring Rohrer’s Quarry Inc.

Discussion on Vehicle Maintenance

Our CNS Spotlight for the month of June is on Rohrer’s Quarry Inc. and their vehicle maintenance practices. With the CVSA Roadcheck Blitz on June 4th – 6th focusing on steering and suspension, we decided to ask Ryan Zimmerman, VP of Rohrer’s Service Center, a division of Rohrer’s Quarry his thoughts on how he maintains his fleet.  Rohrer’s Quarry has a fleet of 51 power units and does a great job in maintaining their fleet. Below is the Q&A and some great insight from a company that does it the right way.

Rohrer’s Quarry Inc. has been a staple of Lancaster County, and the Lititz community for many generations now. Rohrer’s came from humble beginnings in the 1800’s to the thriving business it is today and has been family owned and operated since 1937. Ryan, who has been with Rohrer’s since 1997 handling their fleet maintenance, knows the importance of keeping his vehicles in great shape and in good working order.

Q1. With the upcoming Road check focused on steering and suspension systems what should a driver look for to make sure they are compliant?

A thorough pre-trip can catch most issues before the DOT inspector can. Pay close attention to the easy things an officer can pick out. Check for broken springs or loose hardware and U-bolts in the suspension, look for rust trails or shined-up components, an indication of shifting front and back. With the engine off, check the steering shaft from column to steering gear box; there should be no play in shaft or u-joints. Start the engine and rotate steering shaft back and forth and observe the drag link and tie rod ends you can see from the left side, looking for loose components. Look for power steering system leaks and rubbed or frayed hoses.

Q2. What do you see as the most common defects in steering and suspension systems?

The most over looked component is the steering gear input shaft. Any play in this component is non-compliant with the DOT. Another common defect if you are operating a vocational truck in rough jobsites, the suspension springs will get weak and break over time.

Q3. How often do you recommend drivers check for defects in steering and suspension systems?

I feel it is a good practice to check steering and suspension systems at the start of every shift with your pre-trip. Not only will it give you peace of mind in the event of a DOT inspection, this check also allows you to get to your destination and back home safely and without a roadside service call.

Q4. How often should a truck come in for preventive maintenance?

How often your truck requires maintenance depends mostly on how it is being used. Is your truck in a vocational, city, or over-the-road application? All truck manufactures have specific service guidelines based on fuel consumption and idle/PTO time that will give a description of normal, heavy or severe duty. It can be calculated by engine hours or mileage; this is generally 500 – 1300 hours or 5,000 – 45,000 miles. If you are unsure of how often to seek preventative maintenance ask your local independent service provider or dealership, they will partner with you to fit your application and needs. Know your truck and take care of it, it will provide reliable service to you.

Q5. What are the key items that should be checked for during a preventive maintenance check in?

A lot of roadside/breakdown issues and DOT issues can be addressed during PMs. This is an area where it can be costly to cut corners. These are some of the key items you or your service provider should be checking:

  • Brakes; lining adjustment, automatic brake slack operation, wheel seals, cracks and hardware issues
  • Steering/Suspension; Springs/air bags, Kingpins, wheel bearings/seals, steering links
  • Oil level checks and lube necessary brake, steering and suspension components, and check for fluid leaks, filters and fluids that need replaced
  • Belts and hoses, tire condition, exhaust leaks, and general operation of truck.

We want to thank Ryan and Rohrer’s for their time and insight on this topic.  All in all, it pays to be Proactive and get ahead of any issues that are in question.  Any questions about your Vehicle Maintenance, feel free to reach out to CNS at info@cnsprotects.com

FMCSA Seeks Public Comment on Pilot Program to Allow Drivers Ages 18-20 to Operate Commercial Motor Vehicles in Interstate Commerce

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it is seeking public comment on a potential pilot program that would allow drivers ages 18-20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce.

“Commercial trucks and buses are essential to a thriving national economy, and the Department wants to ensure the public has an opportunity to comment on this important potential change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Drivers ages 18-20 may currently only operate CMVs in intrastate commerce. In July 2018, USDOT announced the details of the Commercial Driver Pilot Program required under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which allows certain 18- to 20-year-olds with military training to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

Today’s action requests comments on a second pilot program to allow non-military drivers ages 18-20 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce. FMCSA requests comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that FMCSA should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger drivers.

“We want input from the public on efforts that offer the potential to create more jobs in the commercial motor vehicle industry, while maintaining the highest level of safety. We encourage all CMV stakeholders to submit comments on a potential interstate pilot program for younger drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

The Federal Register Notice, including how to submit comments, is available here.

CVSA Operation Safe Driver Week, July 14-20, 2019


“Late won’t kill you, speeding will.”

Speeding and unsafe driving will be the focus this year during the CVSA Safe Driver Week held between July 14th and 20th.

This year’s focus comes from NHTSA’s 2015 report regarding Traffic Safety Facts. NHTSA states that 94 percent of all traffic crashes are caused by Drivers’ actions. More reporting from NHTSA in 2017 reveals that speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities, just under 10,000 lives lost due to speeding.

2018 Operation Safe Driver Week

Last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week produced just under 17,000 citations for passenger carriers and slightly under 2,000 citations for commercial motor carriers.

What will law enforcement look for?

Law enforcement will be on the lookout for drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors and will be pulling over drivers to issue a warning and/or citation.

It has been reported that the use issuance of citations, although very unpopular with Commercial Drivers, does have an effect on driver behavior. A study conducted in 2014 states that a 1 percent increase in citations issued led to a 28 percent reduction in motor vehicle crashes.

This reduction in crashes is a major reason law enforcement has backed and promoted CVSA’s focus on speeding and the message, “Late won’t kill you, speeding will.”

Landscaper DOT Violations

Landscapers Beware! DOT will be doing spot checks and roadsides this spring and summer looking for trucks and trailers without the proper weight combinations, DOT numbers, medical cards and insurance requirements.  DOT knows this is the time of year that companies avoiding regulation will be out operating.  The DOT is doing more than just occasional checks, they are hunting the non compliant companies.  Don’t wait until your driver is suspended and you have costly fines adding up, because it doesn’t just stop there…  The more your company exposes roadside violations the more likely your company will be picked for a DOT audit.

Common questions and notes for Landscaper Outfits:

 

Remember any PA Intrastate Carriers operating a CMV over 17,001lbs gross vehicle weight rating or combination are required to have a US DOT number.

 

Interstate carriers operating a CMV over 10,001lbs gross vehicle weight rating or combination are required to have a US DOT number.

 

Interstate carriers are required to file their UCR by May 2019.

 

Anyone driving a CMV (vehicle with DOT # on the side) is required to fill out a Driver Qualification File, which basically states that the driver is fit and qualified to drive the CMV.

 

DOT drivers are required to have a medical card.

 

Anyone driving a CMV gvwr or combination weight over 26,001lbs should have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL)

 

All CDL drivers must be enrolled into a random drug and alcohol consortium and have taken a Pre-Employment Drug Test prior to driving for any company or must have been previously enrolled in a Drug and Alcohol Consortium for at least a year or have had a negative drug result within the last 6 months in order to omit the pre-employment test.

 

These are the most common issues discovered during audits for Landscape Outfits .

 

For more questions visit us at : http://www.cnsprotects.com/DOT requirements

CNS and affiliates announce new headquarters to be completed in 2020

Lititz PA- Compliance Navigation Specialists (CNS), is the fastest growing full-service transportation compliance company locally, and across the contiguous United States.  Today, CNS is pleased to announce the new company headquarters is to be built and completed by late 2020. The new headquarters will be located at 151 Koser Rd in Lititz PA.

“We greatly look forward to our new headquarters for our family of companies. The space will allow us to serve our clients more collaboratively and add room for our proven and continued growth” says John Irwin, Founder and CEO. “Our new location will not only allow us to reach more clients throughout North America, but also be more effective within our local community. Over the past year we have added more relevant services for local transportation companies including HAZMAT training classes, CDL exam prep, among others that are completed at our current location. The added space will allow more driver training and safety classes. Another new service that has been added this month are DOT and PA School bus physicals, and the new location will give us options to expand occupational medicine services as well.”

CNS will build a two story 19,000-square foot building on 4.10 acres zoned I-1 in Manheim Township. The building will be called The HUB. “We named the new headquarters The HUB, due to the fact that it will be the center of activity when it comes to transportation licensing, compliance and risk management.” The property will house Compliance Navigation Specialists, Northern Insurance Specialists, Carolyn’s Notary Service (Carolyn’s Notary Service will enjoy two locations with the new build – the current Copperfield Circle location, and the new Koser Road location) and the newest affiliate CNS Driver Training Center.

The building will feature an indoor 65 foot bay for Pre-Trip inspection trainings, a large training center with monthly training classes to be held, physical examination rooms, a drug testing facility, vehicle licensing center as well as offices with a bull pen area for 40+ employees. The upstairs will be left vacant for future use or potential partners that would be a relevant fit for our clientele.

The completed build date is scheduled for September – October of 2020.

About CNS and Affiliates
As the fastest growing, industry-leading, full-service compliance company, CNS delivers results for its clients. Proactive Safety Management services save companies time and money when it comes to safety, licensing and risk management. Powered by technology, a knowledgeable staff, industry leading partners and affiliates, CNS is the preferred partner for transportation companies around North America. CNS and affiliates serve more than 1,800 clients, overseeing half a million units and works with industry leading brands, visit (www.cnsprotects.com). CNS is affiliated with Carolyn’s Notary Service, a licensing and auto tag business serving Pennsylvania’s complete licensing and registration needs (www.carolynsnotary.com). CNS is also affiliated with Northern Insurance Specialists, an insurance agency specializing in transportation insurance for the trucking and motor coach industry serving 23 states (www.northernprotects.com).