Texas truck drivers may already be familiar with the term Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) but what does it mean to other road users?
The CSA program applies to large commercial trucks and is administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The purpose of this program is to enforce safety standards for truck drivers and trucking companies.
CSA is conducted by using a point system that ranks fleets on their compliance with safety standards. Anytime a violation occurs, points are issued to fleets. In order to avoid any scrutiny from the FMCSA, trucking companies and their drivers must keep their scores as low as possible. Those with frequent violations may be subject to FMCSA investigation.
Below is the list of violations and the corresponding point system. Violations are grouped into categories called Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories.
A fleet may receive 10 points for incidents involving reckless driving, exceeding the speed limit by 15 or more mph, speeding in construction zones, continuing to drive after being declared out of service, possession of drugs, driving under the influence of drugs, and driving after being declared out of service for DUI.
Eight points may be issued if a driver is found to be unqualified and seven points may be issued for exceeding the speed limit by 11-14 mph.
Some violations in the lower end of the point system include failure to obey traffic control devices, tailgating, improper lane changing, improper passing, failure to yield the right-of-way, operating a commercial vehicle on an interstate while under age 21, and not meeting the physical qualifications for the job.
Other common CSA violations include:
- E-log and/or Electronic on-board computer (EOBR) violations: These include not meeting EOBR device information requirements, failure to reconstruct duty status, improper form of EOBR device, and failure to provide EOBR device information.
- Hours of service violations: Ten points may be issued to a fleet if the driver was operating a vehicle while ill or fatigued. Seven-point violations include operating a vehicle past the limited hours of service or failing to take the required rest period.
- Mobile device violations: Ten points may be issued if a driver is caught using a handheld device while driving.
- Paperwork violations: These include lacking the proper licensure to operate a commercial truck, falsifying logs, failure to provide logs, missing inspection reports, a driver not being physically qualified, and failure to provide a valid medical card or waiver.
- Mechanical violations: Trucking companies and their drivers are responsible for maintaining their vehicles and ensuring that they are free of defect before placing them in service. Common mechanical violations include defective lights and reflectors, defective brakes, and worn-out or damaged tires.
What CSA scores mean for crash victims
Unfortunately, CSA scores are not accessible to the public. If you were involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, your attorney may be able to subpoena FMCSA records. While CSA records alone may not be supporting evidence in a truck accident case, they may provide documentation that a truck driver or trucking company had a history of violating safety regulations.
For example, if your truck accident was caused by a mechanical defect, records may indicate that the company failed to maintain the vehicle involved. Violations involving licensure may show that the trucking company knowingly hired an inexperienced or unqualified driver.
Through an in-depth investigation, an experienced attorney at The Herrera Law Firm may compile supporting evidence through crash scene photos, witness statements, and details provided in the police report. For more than 30 years, we have successfully represented truck accident victims in San Antonio. Contact us today to set up your free case evaluation.