CSA scores DO matter.
Because significant people think they matter. People who can help you. And, people who can hurt you. While we would like to live in a society based on facts, it’s often perceptions that carry the day.
A study by the American Transportation Transport Institute (ATRI) makes this point loud and clear. While the report is mostly about how well drivers understand CSA (hint: not well), snuggled deep in the report are some disturbing findings (our emphasis in italics):
How CSA Scores Are Used
Shippers have become more selective of the carriers they hire and are requesting both the publicly and non-publicly available BASIC scores under CSA. For example, a 2012 study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that 27.6 percent of shippers had terminated existing contracts with carriers based on their BASIC scores.
Furthermore, 50.0 percent of shippers noted that poor BASIC scores have deterred them from entering into contracts with new customers even though FMCSA states that BASIC scores do not constitute actual safety ratings.”
So whether or not the scores are a valid measure, shippers are using them to make decisions that affect you. Perception has become reality.
We can’t change all the wrongs of the world we live in, but we can be proactive. We can accept that CSA is here to stay. We can agree that BASIC scores have little to do with safety. And, we can take action. Teach your drivers what CSA means. Be sure they understand all of the BASICS. Explain to them what enforcement agencies are looking to find and what they can do to avoid violations. This might not make you any safer, but it will keep your scores in the reasonable range and keep the wolf away from your front door.
Meanwhile, safe, risk-averse, professional defensive driving is still the best way to avoid collisions. Today, you need to do both: understand and avoid the violations and do what professionals do…avoid risk.
The A-Fleet Professional Safe Driver Course
That’s why we developed the The A-Fleet Professional Safe Driver Course not based solely on safe defensive driving, but also with an eye to compliance as well. Safety and compliance aren’t the same thing, but more than ever, they're both vital for your survival.