A Guide to Your First Year in Trucking
Safety regulations play a large part in how a trucking company has to operate. This week, we’re looking at the biggest safety regulations in trucking, CSA scores and what every trucking company should make sure they stay compliant and safe on the road.
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This video series, What to Expect as a New Entrant, A Guide to Running Your Trucking Company during the First Year has been developed by Apex Capital to help you understand the policies and procedures that you must have in place in order to pass your safety audit and receive your permanent operating authority.
Today we are talking to Reghan Orman about Alcohol & Drug Testing Programs. Reghan is Associate General Counsel at Apex Capital and she also leads the Apex Startup Program. A program that’s designed to help those interested in starting a trucking company get their operating authority.
What are CSA Scores?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the FMCSA, has something called the CSA and that’s the acronym for Compliance Safety Accountability. And this is the FMCSA’s safety initiative that they have designed to improve truck and bus safety as well as reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities related to commercial motor vehicles. So when you hear people talk about CSA or CSA scores, BASIC scores, SMS, it’s all kind of referring to the same initiative.
What is the SMS?
SMS the acronym for Safety Management System, and that system falls under the FMCSA’s CSA program. And that’s a system that contains the actual BASIC scores that score all motor carriers across seven different categories which are Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, Hours of Service Compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances, Hazardous Material Compliance, if that’s applicable to your motor carrier company, as well as Driver Fitness.
The way that the FMCSA comes up with these BASIC scores is they place each motor carrier into a peer group based upon a similar number of inspections. Once the carrier is in that peer group, they take in data from a variety of sources, like inspections, plug it into a mathematical formula, and there, you have your BASIC scores.
One thing that you’ve probably heard about lately, is that the BASIC scores are no longer publicly available. However, the FMCSA still uses those scores to target inspections and interventions of motor carriers and the scores are always available to the motor carrier itself by logging into their FMCSA portal.
How can I make sure I’m operating safely?
There’s a lot of things that your company can do to make sure you are operating safely. First, I would always suggest just staying informed. The FMCSA website is a great resource to go to and get lots of safety information, there’s a tab called “Resources for Carriers” and you’re going to find a lot of information there.
Secondly, you need to be checking your safety scores. Motor carriers can log in, check their scores and drill down into that information to see the areas they can improve in.
Third, make sure that you have policies and procedures in place. That goes from hiring drivers, to alcohol and drug testing programs. And if you want more information on that, please see our video on Alcohol and Drug Testing Programs.
Finally, there are a lot of third-party compliance companies out there. If you know of a motor carrier that uses one of those compliance services or you see one online, just make sure that you do the research and you’re working with a reputable one.
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If you want to start your own trucking company and get your authority to operate, give us a call at 844-827-4524 to learn more about how our Startup Program can help make the process fast and easy.