CSA affects motor carriers, including owner-operators, by identifying those with safety problems to prioritize them for interventions such as warning letters and investigations. CSA affects drivers because their safety performance and compliance impact their safety records and, while working for a carrier, will impact their carrier’s safety record.
Your company’s safety data appears online in FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS). FMCSA updates the SMS once a month with data from roadside inspections, including driver and vehicle violations; crash reports from the last two years; and investigation results. The SMS considers:
- The number of safety violations and inspections.
- The severity of safety violations or crashes.
- When the safety violations occurred, with recent events weighted more heavily.
- The number of trucks/buses a carrier operates and the number of vehicle miles traveled.
- Serious violations found during investigations.
You may ask “Why is my safety score so high?” “What can I do to lower my score?” “What does this score really mean?” “How does it affect me?”
The answer to these questions are:
- The score is high because of discrepancies and violations discovered during road side inspections, certain traffic stops and accident investigations.
- The score can be lowered by better management of driver and equipment resources.
- The score places companies in mathematical comparison with similar companies.
- If is cause for DOT intervention for carriers who exceed predetermined thresholds of performance.
We hear about the importance of having a safety culture in the workplace to reduce accidents and injuries. The “buzz words” associated with this culture include, but are not limited to: personal commitment, responsibility, communication, accountability, leadership and trust. All are driven by the influencing behavior of every employee in the company.
Safety starts with you.