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Four ways to avoid CSA violations

Dec. 12, 2022
Fleets don't have to be at the mercy of safety inspectors; they can reduce their risk of violations by following these simple steps.

While the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has seven Behavior Analysis & Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) that are used by law enforcement personnel during roadside inspections, the maintenance BASIC is one that many fleets receive violations for.

However, fleets are not at the mercy of safety inspectors; they can take steps to reduce the risk of violations by doing a few simple things.

1. Be diligent in completing preventive maintenance service.

Maintenance is scheduled on a regular basis for a reason. That reason is that truck makers and component suppliers have data that shows them when certain components or systems typically stop performing at peak levels and need to be checked over. That checking over can include replacing fluids, filters, and other wear items, tightening fasteners, adding lube, checking tire tread depth, etc. There may be no outward sign that components and systems are wearing, so it can be tempting to skip a scheduled PM service,  especially when freight volumes are high, and taking a truck out of service for a PM service could mean lost business. But given the fact that most fleets are now operating older equipment, skipping a PM is asking for trouble. Make sure you have a system in place that tracks PM compliance so that you know that every truck is coming into the shop every time it is scheduled for a PM service.

2. Perform inspections whenever the truck is in the shop.

In addition, when a truck is in for repair work, make sure the technician performs a safety and maintenance inspection to spot any developing problems. Anything found during those inspections can be fixed while the truck is already in the shop.

3. Reinforce the importance of thorough pre- and post-trip inspections.

Every driver should be performing a pre-trip inspection every time they take a truck out, and they should be fully focused when performing those inspections. Just because they perform pre-trips all the time does not mean they should just hurry through them. You can help improve the pre- and post-trip inspection process by having electronic forms that drivers can fill out on their smart forms or tablets. The easier you make these inspections, the more likely they are to be done with accuracy.

Put extra focus on three key areas. Remind drivers and technicians that lights, tires, and brakes are three key areas that CSA inspectors look at, so those should be a top priority for your staff.

4. Look for trends.

Given all the data that is being generated by today’s trucks, it should be relatively easy to spot failure trends and recurring problems and then work proactively to address those across the entire fleet or a group of similar assets.

Being vigilant in your vehicle inspections should result in fewer CSA violations and fines. And having drivers who are happy because they get to stay behind the wheel is just an added bonus.

Jane Clark is vice president of member services for NationaLease. In this position, she is focused on managing the member services operation as well as working to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups. Prior to joining NationaLease, Clark served as area vice president for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Cos., Pro Staff, and Manpower Inc.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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