The CSA program focuses specifically on vehicle maintenance. The program uses a new tool called the Safety Measurement System. The FMCSA hopes that by using this system and other new tools, the trucking industry will be able to tell its carriers about safety problems before truck accidents occur.
The new system measures performance in some of the following categories:
- Unsafe driving
- Driver fitness
- Vehicle maintenance
- Crash incidents reported by the state
Vehicle maintenance is a very important category. A recent study of fleet managers by CK Commercial Vehicle Research showed that over one-third of them have started using the CSA program. They have improved their maintenance programs and are using more preventative checks.
One fleet manager said they are repairing more minor items before a truck leaves and having vendors come to them to make repairs, rather than having the driver try to make it to the next facility. Another manager has been educating drivers and holding them more responsible for leaving on trips with a safe vehicle.
The three most common maintenance defects on the trucks come from brakes, lights and tires. New products are being manufactured to help with each of these. A product called Brake Sentry can perform a visual inspection of the entire vehicle in under two minutes and confirm the air brakes are working properly. A system called Light Check conducts a check of the electrical circuits in ten seconds. Drivers are encouraged to check tire pressure and tread depth on a regular basis.
By complying with the CSA through performing thorough inspections before making trips and responding quickly to any problems they find, serious accidents on the nation’s roadways are being reduced.