Getting points sounds like a good thing to most, but you don’t want any of these points! Let’s take a look at CSA points and just what they mean when operating a commercial motor vehicle. We will discuss how you might get them, and more importantly how you can get rid of them if you do get any. Implementing some positive truck driving tips could keep you in the clear on many if not all factors that you could get points for. Understanding how the CSA program can affect you in this industry can help you prioritize safety and compliance to avoid pointless infractions leading to issues with your CDL or commercial driver’s license and high insurance premiums.
CSA stands for compliance, safety, accountability and is formulated around performance in safety improvement categories. CSA points were developed around a set of standards put in place by the FMCSA or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to give incentive and track the overall safety of commercial drivers.
CSA points are actually given to both the driver as well as the carrier/company as a penalty for infractions such as driving outside of the allowed HOS (hours of service), unsafe driving, failing any roadside inspections, reckless driving, and more. This helps to reinforce the overall need to strive for safety all around. By placing the points on the driver alone a carrier might tend to just burn through drivers letting them go when they get a certain amount of points and starting fresh with a new driver. By placing points on both of the parties it not only holds the driver accountable but also holds the carrier accountable as well to not just replace bad drivers with other bad drivers but to train and appropriately correct any issues. This approach should leave a larger positive impact on the trucking industry as a whole. This will also often result in carriers keeping a pre-employment screening program to make sure drivers do not have a pre-existing build up of points and regularly practice safe industry practices to avoid such penalties for themselves as well as the company.
You can get CSA points through unsatisfactory DOT inspections, crash reports, as well as investigation reports and much more. Any infraction can result in you getting between a 1 to a 10-point violation. You will be given more CSA points depending on how severe the infraction was such as having an increased crash rate or not keeping up with hazardous materials compliance. It can be less for something minor such as an improper lane change or seatbelt infraction. For this reason it is important to take all measures so that you will not fail any of your vehicle inspections. Maintaining hours-of-service compliance and doing a thorough pre-trip inspection in regards to vehicle maintenance is key. This can help you avoid many of those worries and help keep your USDOT number clear from any unnecessary points.
Well, simply put having any csa points is considered bad and can affect the status of your DOT number. Too high of a CSA score tends to reflect poorly on your fleet management and safety performance. However, the more you have is obviously looked at worse than if you have a lower amount. Once you get CSA points you can be assigned a percentile score and this score demonstrates how many companies out of 100 have a better score than you as well as how many have a worse score than you. This aims to give a realistic perspective of where you fall on the scale of other trucking companies like yours.
For starters you will want to challenge any points given to you that you do not agree with. You can submit online to challenge these and even include any documentation that might prove you innocent. If you are in fact found to be clear of the violation then the points will be removed from your overall score.
The other and more common way to get the points removed off of your record is to let them fall off naturally. The points are only active for two years on your score. They can be challenged as we mentioned above for that two year period but after the two year mark they will fall off.
There is nothing but benefit to having a good CSA score. This demonstrates how well your company stays in compliance in all manners. Therefore, a good CSA score will show others and officials that your company is taking care of its business and operates professionally. This will result in you getting stopped less at weigh stations as well as offer cushion on your record in the off chance that you do accumulate some points. If you get too many points it can result in your company being placed out of service and not allowed to continue driving.
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