Driver CSA Tips

How can CSA affect the driver?

CSA only affects big trucking companies, right?

No – if you drive a commercial vehicle (any truck 10,001 lbs. GVW, any 8 occupant vehicle (for hire) or 15 occupant vehicle (not for hire) or you haul hazmat – CSA can effect you big time. Although you won’t receive a "Safety Fitness Determination" (SFD – or safety rating) like your company, any record of roadside enforcement while you’re at the wheel of a CMV goes into the new DOT database (SMS) and is tracked by just about everybody. DOT, law enforcement, your company, insurance companies – even truck attorneys – are all interested in your safety record. So please drive safely!

If I’m not scored, then what’s the big deal?

We didn’t say you weren’t scored, we just said you won’t have a safety rating. Any roadside violation you do get (driving, logbook, medical, equipment or drug & alcohol) will follow you for 4 years – no matter what company you work for. And the most recent violations are more severe. When you apply for a driving job, besides your MVR, now companies also look at your driving history in the Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) database. And if you’re good enough to be hired, your new employer will monitor SMS on a monthly basis because they need to keep track of any new roadside inspections that may affect their CSA score and their SFD. And they can see which driver and if any belong to you, be prepared to explain. So play it safe - drive safely!

Wow, I didn’t realize all this was happening – what should I do? Just remember to stick to the BASICS and you should be fine:

  • Drive safely, don’t speed and obey traffic control devices.
  • Wear your seatbelt (this is 7 CSA points and it’s a killer!)
  • Stay rested, don’t exceed hours, and keep your logbook current.
  • Carry a current DOT medical card.
  • Perform regular daily inspections before driving, during and after each trip.
  • Report defective braking system, steering, lights, signals, tires, horn, wipers, mirrors and coupling devices.
  • Report defective intermodal equipment wheels, rims, lugs, king pin, rails, tie down bolsters, locking pins and sliding frame lock.
  • Never operate a defective vehicle.
  • Never drink alcohol or take medication before or during trip.
  • Never use illegal drugs.
  • Keep your load secured.

This is not an all-inclusive list but it is an excellent place to start. If you follow it to the letter, you should be able to keep your CSA score clean as a whistle.