There’s no question that Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores significantly impact a carrier’s success, but it’s easy to lose sight of all the factors that affect a company’s score. While they might seem fairly insignificant, mud flap violations throughout your fleet can have a major impact. Read on as we explore more about how mud flaps affect CSA scores.
What determines your CSA score
You may already know that CSA is a safety compliance and enforcement program introduced by the FMCSA in 2010 with the goal of improving road safety and preventing commercial motor vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities, but it’s also important to understand how CSA scores are determined.
CSA scores are calculated with safety data collected from roadside inspections and crash reports from the previous two years. Information collected from FMCSA investigations or interventions is also included in the scores. CSA scoring considers the frequency and severity of accidents and violations, as well as how recently the violations have occurred. A higher CSA score represents a higher frequency, severity and/or more recent violations.
The data collected is organized into seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs): unsafe driving; crash indicator; hours-of-service compliance; vehicle maintenance; controlled substances and alcohol; hazardous materials compliance; and driver fitness.
How mud flap violations occur & what they mean for CSA scores
Mud flap violations often occur when flaps break due to weather, regular wear and tear, or poor manufacturing. Flaps can also break from impact if they are hanging lower than the height of a curb and a truck backs up too far, forcing the mud flaps against the curb.
Damaged flaps can be a huge safety risk. If they fly off a moving truck, they can cause a safety hazard for other motorists. Missing or damaged flaps can also cause rocks to fly up, hitting other vehicles, and can increase the amount of road spray if it’s raining. Broken mud flaps are usually noticed and can be addressed during a pre-trip inspection. However, if a driver fails to do a pre-trip inspection or if the flap breaks after the inspection has been completed, a citation can occur.
Any violation, even a seemingly small one, costs a carrier time and money. A missing or defective mud flap violation, for instance, adds one point to a carrier’s CSA score in the vehicle maintenance BASIC. Beyond the fact that mud flap violations can add up to have a significant impact on a carrier’s CSA score, a mud flap violation is easily visible and may prompt an inspection that will uncover additional violations. An excess of violations across your fleet may result in expensive and time-consuming investigations which may further impact CSA scores in the long term.
In addition to inspections, investigations, and fines from violations that may result from mud flap violations, CSA scores, except for crash indicator and hazardous materials compliance BASIC scores, are available to the public and any potential customer or employee.
Protect your fleet against mud flap violations
Training and accountability measures for pre-trip inspections are great ways to reduce the number of mud flap violations in your fleet, but installing higher quality mud flaps is another cost-effective way to mitigate your risk. Eco Flaps are made of nylon and are more durable than the typical rubber mud flaps, so they’re less likely to wear down and break while on the road. Most trucks go through multiple flaps each year, but Eco Flaps have a 2-year warranty and often last even longer.
Heavy-duty Eco Flaps don’t have drastic movement away from the ground when in motion, so they don’t have to be fitted to be longer than 8 inches off the ground when the truck is parked. This means that Eco Flaps can be custom-fitted to trucks to be exactly the legal maximum height of 8 inches off the ground, and they’re less likely to hit a curb and break than longer mud flaps.
You may think that switching to higher quality mud flaps will cost you money, but Eco Flaps have been proven to help decrease costs due to their durability, which reduces the frequency at which mud flaps need to be replaced and decreases the risk for CSA violations.
Call 866-543-5277 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about trying out Eco Flaps on your fleet.