CSA violations not only cost you money from the fines they generate — they also cost you customers if your scores lead shippers to take their business elsewhere.
But what if you could reduce your maintenance-related CSA violations by 50 to 75 percent? Jeff Langloss, federal program manager for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in Texas, thinks that's a real possibility.
Speaking at the Great American Trucking Show this summer in Dallas, Langloss said many of the violations found during roadside inspections were easily avoidable if pre-trip inspections had been done properly.
Over 76% of CSA Violations should Have Been Discovered During Pre-Trip Inspections
He reviewed CSA violation records from 10 Texas-based fleets. There were 4,296 violations, and 3,309 – or 76.3 percent – should have been discovered during drivers' pre-trip inspections, Langloss believes.
In its annual roadside inspection blitz this June, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) took 18.7 percent of the 73,475 trucks it inspected out of service primarily for brake-related violations. Brakes accounted for 46.2 percent of the out-of-service citations, while tire and wheel violations made up 14 percent and lighting 13.5 percent.
Langloss believes too many drivers are doing a poor job inspecting vehicles and filling out Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs), or they simply aren't doing the inspections at all.
While it's unrealistic to eliminate all maintenance-related CSA violations, there are steps you can take to dramatically reduce them. Consider these five tips:
#1. Align Pre-Trip Inspection Forms with Roadside Inspections
The first step in avoiding a CSA violation is to make sure your pre-trip inspectionsinclude the areas that CSA inspectors look at. Compare a roadside inspection form to your current pre-trip inspection form to make sure you have essential elements covered. Adjust your form as needed to more closely align with what the CSA monitors.
#2. Use Mobile Inspections
Although there's no guarantee that drivers will do their required pre-trip inspections, the easier you make it for them to complete those inspections quickly, the more likely they are to get done. Moving from a paper-based inspection to an electronic one that can be completed using a mobile device should increase accuracy and completion rates.
#3. Audit DVIR Compliance
There's an old adage that you need to measure what you want to manage. This is true with DVIRs, and is easy once you switch to electronic inspection forms. It's simple to determine who's completing inspections, who's glossing over them and who's ignoring them. Use this information to reward or discipline drivers.
#4. Capture DVIR Results in a Centralized System Tied to Your Maintenance Processes
Having the results of all DVIRs in one central system allows you to spot problem areas across the fleet. For example, if drivers are constantly recording low tire pressure, you can take steps to get to the root cause of the problem and correct it. Data from electronic inspection forms should flow into your fleet maintenance management program. Most importantly, make sure this data is available to your service and maintenance team in the context of how they do business today (see #1 above – you don't need yet another place to look).
#5. Cross-Check CSA Violations with DVIRs
If you receive a violation, go back and look at recent inspection forms. Did the driver note any concerns about the component that resulted in a violation? If so, why wasn't the problem corrected in your shop? If not, perhaps the driver needs a refresher on conducting a proper inspection. Langloss suggests having a maintenance technician walk around a truck with each driver showing him what to inspect and how to do it properly. He believes if you do this once a year, you'll experience a significant drop in CSAmaintenance violations.
Take the Next Step
Look at the above list and determine which areas are most relevant for your fleet operation. Making a few changes in your pre-trip inspection process could put you in a position to pass inspections with flying colors.
Learn more about how to avoid CSA-related costs and downtime in our on-demand webinar.