Oct 3, 2022
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7 Top CSA Violations and How to Avoid Them

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CSA Violations Could Cost You a Job 

CSA violations continue to be a top industry concern with 918,372 violations and 193,732 out-of-service violations out of 2,764,672 inspections in 2021. 

The bad news is these CSA violations could cost drivers their jobs. As the transportation industry comes under more scrutiny, many organizations are cracking down on repeat offenders for violations.  

The good news is these violations are easily preventable with a little diligence.  

Understanding Violations 

CSA scores are based on FMCSA regulations in seven different areas. These areas are the CSA BASICS.

  • Unsafe Driving 
  • Controlled Substances 
  • Hours of Service 
  • Vehicle Maintenance 
  • Hazardous Materials 
  • Driver Fitness 
  • Crash Indicator 

Drivers and carriers are assigned scores based on the FMCSA severity chart for these different areas. The idea behind these CSA BASICS is to help make the roadways safer. 

What are the Top Violations? 

While each BASIC has several violations that can occur, most violations fall under 7 areas.  

Speeding Violations 

Speeding was the top CSA violation of the year in 2021, accounting for 12.81% of the violations issued. As speeding continues to be an issue, the FMCSA is considering requiring speed limiters on trucks to address the problem. 

Not only does speeding put you in danger of receiving a violation, but it also puts you in danger of an accident. The faster you are traveling, the longer it will take you to come to a stop if an emergency occurs. 

Failure to Obey Traffic Laws 

With 10.45% of the violations, failure to obey traffic laws is the second most common violation. This can be anything from traveling in the wrong lane to following too close.  

As a driver of a large vehicle, it’s important to remember that you are going to have more blind spots than other drivers on the road. Failing to follow traffic laws can easily cause you to have an accident. 

Failure to Use a Seatbelt 

The FMCSA has seen an increase in drivers without seatbelts. There have been seatbelt laws on the books for many years for both commercial and passenger vehicles. 

Failure to wear your seatbelt is a violation that puts your life in danger. Accidents can happen at any time on the road, and if one does, you can be seriously injured or killed if you do not have a seatbelt on.  

Operating without a CDL 

Drivers of commercial vehicles are required to have an updated CDL on file. Still, operating without a valid CDL comes in as the fourth most common CSA violation.  

It’s important to keep up with expiration dates and make sure you get your CDL updated promptly. Violations in this area are the quickest way to lose a driving job. 

Driving without a Medical Certificate 

All drivers are required to have a medical certificate with them while on the road. This documentation will be required any time you have a roadside inspection.  

Commercial drivers are required to meet a certain standard of health to stay on the road. This is to maintain safety, as certain health issues can easily impair your ability to drive. 

Hours of Service Violations 

Despite mandatory ELDs in all commercial vehicles, Hours of Service continue to be a top violation. Drivers are only allowed to drive 11 consecutive hours after 10 hours off duty. During this period, drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after 8 hours.  

This violation is easily preventable with a little planning. Take time to think out your route, and plan time to find parking so you don’t run the risk of going over your hours. 

Cellphone Use While Driving 

For commercial drivers, cellphone use while on the road is against the law, yet this is in the top 7 violations. If you must use your cellphone, it is best to pull off the road.  

Cellphone use is the second leading distraction that causes fatal accidents on the road. Using your cellphone will cause you to lose focus on your surroundings and reduce your reaction time. 

How Do You Avoid the Top Violations? 

There are many things you can do to avoid the top CSA violations.  

#1- Keep up with all expiration dates on licenses and certificates to ensure you can renew in plenty of time. 

#2- Complete pre-trip inspections to make sure you have everything you will need if you have a roadside inspection.  

#3- Make sure you are aware of all traffic laws where you are and follow traffic signs to keep everyone safe. 

#4- Watch your speed. It is easy to increase speed when you aren’t paying attention.  

#5- Pay attention to your driving hours and give yourself plenty of time to find parking. 

#6- Silence your phone or put it out of your line of sight when you are driving. If you need to make or take a call, pull off the road before doing so. 

Following these simple steps will keep you safe, reduce your chance of getting a violation, and make you a more employable driver.  

For more driving tips, check out our Driver Tips ‘n’ Tricks 

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