The CSA Program

From Liability to Cargo, we keep you covered

Compliance, safety, and accountability are three of the most important words in the trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration employ the CSA data-driven safety program to identify, prioritize, and deal with motor carriers who represent a safety risk on U.S highways. Simplex Group will help ensure your company is compliant with the CSA program’s regulations.

The CSA program was established in 2010 and replaced outdated safety enforcement standards in the trucking industry. The FMCSA decided to revitalize its safety standards because truck accidents had not reduced at their expected rate in the early 2000s.The program’s goal is to reduce the injuries and fatalities caused by trucking accidents. It changed the way road safety is monitored as well as how the FMCSA intervenes. Some of the consequences for failing to comply with DOT standards include financial penalties, injury or death to employees or other civilians, revocation of the carrier’s ability to operate, damaged industry reputation, higher insurance costs, among others.

How does the CSA Work?

The CSA Program has 3 core components, the Safety Measurement System (SMS), Interventions Process, and Safety Rating Process.

The Safety Measurement System (SMS) collects and analyzes all the data collected from inspections, investigations, and crash reports for the past 2 years to determine what carriers need to be prioritized for an intervention. The FMCSA compares a motor carrier’s safety performance and compliance to that of other carriers using seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, HoS Compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Material Compliance, and Driver fitness.

The Intervention Process is an action taken by the FMCSA, such a warning letter or investigation that may be taken when a carrier’s safety performance indicates a potential safety risk.

The Safety Rating Process is a motor carrier’s compliance evaluation after an onsite investigation. The FMCSA may issue one of t3 safety ratings Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. The FMCSA updates the SMS once a month with all the data from roadside inspections, including driver, vehicle violations, crash reports, etc. When a trucking company is compare to other carriers when the system is updated and the company is not compliant with the CSA regulations based on the points reflected due to the violations recorded under the company’s DOT #, an intervention is triggered. Simplex Group can help make sure a company and its drivers are adhering to the CSA’s strict standards in every area, monitors  drivers performance, designs, implements policies and training necessary to meet and exceed the company’s safety compliance needs.

Photo of people inspecting

Driver Fitness

Driver fitness applies to more than a driver’s physical ability to operate a semi. Although this includes a driver passing a Department of Transportation standard medical exam, it also requires the driver have the appropriate licensure and qualifications to operate a truck. An interstate trucking company’s records must show that the drivers it employs are over 21 years of age, have a Commercial Driver’s License, updated medical card/certificate by an authorize MRO, speak English, are drug-free, and have a clean driving record.

Vehicle Maintenance

The CSA is strict on its requirements for vehicle maintenance. A driver must perform a safety check every day they drive their truck. If they find anything wrong with their truck that could cause an accident or any kind of safety issue, they must send that vehicle in for repair. 

A record of every daily inspection must be kept for three months. Simplex Group ensures that records are filed according to FMCSA regulations. We understand that safety is important to the well-being of any trucking business.

In addition to required vehicle inspections, a driver must secure their load properly. If a vehicle is observed driving with inoperable components, or it is improperly loaded, the trucking company may be subject to fines. The company may not be able to drive that truck for a certain amount of time even after repairs are done. Also, the driver may lose their right to drive a commercial truck for a period of time.

Controlled Substance and Alcohol

The FMCSA has strict rules when it comes to using drugs or alcohol. If a person takes prescription medical marijuana or opioids, they will not be able to work as a commercial truck driver.

A driver should not drink alcohol less than four hours before the start of a shift. If a driver is caught under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating an interstate commercial truck, they will lose their CDL for a period determined by the state. 

A driver will have to be drug tested before they can return to work. If a driver has ever been caught driving under the influence of alcohol, they will be subjected to periodic drug tests if they want to continue working. Most states post hefty fines on drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The punishment is even more severe when the person is a commercial truck driver.

Simplex Group knows the struggles that startup trucking companies have. We can ensure that drivers are properly tested, and we store the records of those drug tests. That way, our clients can prove they fulfilled their responsibilities to the FMCSA.

Hazardous Material

The FMCSA program also has rules on the transportation of hazardous material. There are certain kinds of hazardous materials that require placards. A truck transporting hazardous material must have specific paperwork, and it must be filled out properly. If a trucking company is caught in violation of the hazardous material rules, the company may be subject to fines and an audit.

Hours of Service Compliance

Drivers are required to use electronic logbooks that track and manage their hours of service. Through the hours of service rule implemented by the Department of Transportation, drivers are limited on what they can drive daily and how much they are required to rest.

A truck driver is only allowed to drive for 11 consecutive hours per day. They must drive those 11 hours within a 14-hour window. If a driver is going on a short haul, the number of hours may be increased to 14. A driver must take a 30-minute meal break during an eight-hour shift and once the shift has ended a 10 hour off duty time is required for resting. The 6 months of records of a driver’s hours of service must be kept on file with supporting documents such as fuel receipts, fuel reports, tolls, GPS reports, and trip confirmation from brokers with load pickup and delivery. When a trucking company has a new entrance audit, the auditor will go over HOS records carefully to make sure drivers are not being overworked and not shortening their breaks.

The system takes measures to better assess whether drivers who have been disciplined are actually improving. They use data from roadside inspections as well as state-reported crashes to determine the performance of drivers and trucking companies.

How We Can Help Your Trucking Company

At Simplex Group, we want to help your company earn a perfect score on your New Entrant audit. We do everything we can to help prepare you for the audit, including ensuring your drivers are well trained, your records are stored correctly, and your office is set up properly. Give us a call today to get started.