Incentivizing drivers for better CSA scores

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Updated Jan 8, 2020

When a driver performs poorly, fleets don’t have an issue meting out punishment but Michael Frolick, director of safety and compliance for Transpro Freight Systems, says it’s just as critical to offer rewards for drivers who consistently have clean inspections.

“I think there’s a disconnect in what [drivers] are trained to do and what they’re motivated to do,” he says.

A clean Level II scale inspection is worth $25 for Transpro company drivers and $50 for owner-operators. A clean Level I inspection is worth double to each group.

Offering financial buy-in to the drivers, Frolick says, saves far more than it costs in the long run.

A total of 62,796 inspections were conducted during the International Roadcheck enforcement campaign in June 2016, of which 42,236 were Level I, the most comprehensive vehicle inspection level. Of vehicles placed out of service, brake adjustment and brake system violations combined to represent 45.7 percent of out-of-service vehicle violations – about 4,111 trucks.

Inspection bonuses are independent of the company’s safety awards, but Frolick says it stands to reason that drivers who routinely earn inspection bonuses are hitting their safety marks.

“That could be $2,000 to $3,000 more a year,” he says of the driver’s earning potential. “There’s no better feeling than being at that scale and knowing that you know everything about that truck.”

With fleets fighting over drivers, Frolick says adding incentives for clean inspections allows Transpro to further compensate its best drivers. When driver pay rises, turnover generally recedes.

“Gone are the days of the dinosaur where you tell them to do it or else,” he says. “We want our drivers to buy into it and show them why it is required, not just because it’s the law. And they are rewarded handsomely for it as its part of their performance safety bonus. Training is where it’s at and we deliver that as well.”

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance of industry and law enforcement representatives will conduct a single intensive brake-safety enforcement day on Sept. 7 this year, following years of a full-week Brake Safety Week program.

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During last year’s brake blitz, nearly 2,400 trucks were placed out-of-service for brake violations. CVSA says inspectors conducted 18,057 inspections of trucks during the week to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and other brake system violations. Inspectors looked over brake system components to identify loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; cracked, damaged or worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; and other faulty brake system components. Anti-lock braking system malfunction indicator lamps were also checked for compliance by inspectors during the week. Of the trucks inspected during Brake Safety Week, 8.8 percent (or 1,481) of ABS-required, air-braked trucks were found to have ABS violations, and 8.8 percent (or 1,436) of ABS-required, hydraulic-braked trucks were found with ABS violations.

Ryder’s Regional Safety Director Tom Fallon notes that ABS lights on the trailer are often cracked and shops are sometimes quick to replace them with whatever lens that’s lying around.

“We see people replacing broken ABS lights with a plain amber light,” he says, “and that’s illegal. The lens has be embossed and labeled as the ABS light.”

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]