CSA Violation Variations by State
September 2, 2014
Author: Brandi Brewer, Account Administrator
Motor carriers should be aware of the variations in Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) violations issued by each state as this can affect their Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores. Although the CSA program is federally mandated, it is enforced by individual states which can have a varying impact on a motor carrier’s violations depending on that particular state’s priorities. Currently there is not a system in place to account for these differences amongst the states and it’s becoming evident in the violations issued. The concern for motor carriers is that their safety scores are being compared to their peers without taking into account the variations between the states.
This is more evident when you look at the ratio of violations with inspections for each states. In 2013, Texas performed 547,987 vehicle inspections which resulted in 1,613,087 violations; California performed 536,300 inspections resulting in 542,375 violations (Long, 2014). Some states are “probable-cause states” meaning they need a reason to pull the vehicles over so they would have fewer inspections that resulted in no violations.
Not only do you have a discrepancy in the amount of violations issued per inspection but also the types of violations each state focuses on. For example, Indiana has a reputation for being tough on safety and focuses on driving too closely, unsafe lane changes, and speeding violations whereas Texas focuses on mechanical issues. Legislation or political campaigns can influence the types of violations or enforcement that the particular state focuses on in any given year.
There are also differences among the level of training and focus for the inspectors or enforcement officers issuing these violations. Many violations are issued based on the decision of the individuals performing these inspections. The decision can vary based on what the individual’s office is focuses on and the amount of training the individual has.
With these evident differences amongst states, motor carriers need to be aware of the enforcement priorities for each state they travel in so they can prepare their drivers.
Resources:Transport Topics – CSA Enforcement Uneven, Mindy Long, April 14, 2014
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