When the FMCSA started hiding CSA scores from public view in December 2015, many in the transportation industry cheered the news. The flawed Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) system has been used by insurance companies for rating purposes almost since the system’s inception. Many believed that with CSA scores hidden from public view, the associated issues with insurance underwriting would disappear. However, most trucking insurance companies simply use the available inspection data to create their own scoring systems, virtually identical to the CSA program.

Therefore, many savvy trucking company owners are providing their drivers with incentives for clean inspections and penalties for violations. We recently had one client do a “clean inspection blitz” for three months and rewarded drivers for clean inspections—their Hours of Service and Vehicle Maintenance scores dropped by nearly 25% as a result!

There are two critical reasons for working with drivers to decrease your CSA scores:

  1. Lower CSA scores will also lower the associated ISS (Inspection Selection System) score, improving your chances for a bypass command at a weigh station. The less time your drivers are dealing with inspectors, the more they have time to generate revenue for your company.
  2. Many insurance companies will not offer a quote if there are two or more flagged CSA scores. In particular, the Unsafe Driving and Hours of Service scores factor heavily in insurance pricing, especially for smaller fleets. Even a handful of speeding tickets can cost a small fleet thousands of dollars in additional insurance costs.

If your CSA scores are elevated or have been ticking up recently, it’s critical that you work with your drivers to increase clean inspections and decrease out-of-service violations. Smaller fleets need to pay special attention to every violation, as each one will have a more severe negative impact on your scores

Tips on How to Access and Monitor Your CSA Scores:

  • If you have not yet set up an account, click here to set one up with the FMCSA
  • Once you set up an account, request a PIN so that you can access your CSA scores and monitor them regularly.
  • Log In to the FMCSA Portal at least monthly to monitor your scores.
  •  If there is an erroneous violation, use the DataQ system to try to get the violation removed.
  • Update your MCS-150 (Operating Authority Record) and be sure to include an accurate fleet count and mileage. If you have more trucks than what your filing shows, you may be more heavily penalized. For example, if you operate 15 trucks, but your MCS-150 only shows 9, you will be scored like a 9-unit fleet.
  • Consider signing up for a third-party monitoring service that will send you alerts on out-of-service inspections. You will be able to discuss the violation with a driver within 24 hours instead of up to 30 days after it occurred.

As always, the trucking insurance professionals at The Daniel & Henry Company are here to help you understand what measures you can take to reduce risk and insurance costs. Please call us today at 1-877-406-5915 or email us at RuebsamJ@danielandhenry.com

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