Improving SAFER Scores By Changing Your Culture

a truck driven by someone interested in improving their SAFER scores

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program and the CSA score to help identify carriers who are at high-risk of unsafe practices on the road. These are the fleets who cause accidents because of unsafe drivers and/or poorly maintained vehicles.

A carrier’s score impacts the health and well-being of the business. Bad scores lead to FMCSA investigations and out-of-service orders. Your score determines whether you get the profitable load or the pitiful one. It also plays a role in your insurance premiums. Carriers with good scores pay less than those with bad ones. 

How do you improve your score? By changing your fleet’s culture. Here are a few ways to do that.

Hire Better Drivers

Pre-screening new drivers is an absolute must. While they need to meet the minimum requirements by law, they should also be drivers you trust out on the road. Part of this includes ordering motor vehicle records (MVR) for every driver in your fleet. You should also re-order MVRs on a regular basis to make sure your drivers continue to have clean records. 

Gorilla Safety’s fleet management system can help you keep track of your driver’s information — CDL license expiration, medical records, and the most recent MVR. You can also set reminders so you know when it’s time to re-order an MVR. By knowing what kind of driver you have and whether they’re current with their license, you know your drivers are compliant and can pass driver fitness during an inspection.

Set Expectations for Your Drivers

Once hired, it’s your job to set your expectations for how drivers should behave and what they should do while on the job. This can include a laundry list of tasks, but to avoid unnecessary CSA points there are two that cannot be ignored.

Pre-Trip Inspection Reports

For fleets looking to improve SAFER scores, we recommend that pre-trip inspection reports be completed by every driver, every time. This will help them catch problems with lights, brakes, tires, and other common culprits of unnecessary CSA points. The Gorilla Safety system makes pre-trip checklists easier than ever. Upload the document into the system and require them to be used and accounted for with every trip. Have disciplinary measures in place for drivers who don’t comply.

Tracking Hours of Service

Another common violation comes from drivers going over their hours out on the road. A good ELD system can make tracking hours easier than ever. But it’s also important to keep the lines of communication open with your drivers. They should never feel like they can’t call in and let you know there is a problem. This also goes back to hiring good, responsible drivers who take HOS seriously and will stay in compliance. 

Take Care of Your Vehicles

A pre-trip inspection report from a driver only does any good when problems are fixed once they’re caught. Preventative maintenance is an absolute must for every vehicle in your fleet. At the same time, repair and service should be as seamless as possible. Your service mechanics need to be able to quickly and easily schedule time to work on a truck to avoid dings to your CSA score. 

The Gorilla Safety app and system allows drivers to report problems with their vehicles. It also makes it easy for mechanics and drivers to work together to schedule a repair or get a vehicle in for service. By empowering your people to take care of vehicles with tools that make it easy to do, you create a culture that shows vehicle maintenance and repair are important. And because it’s so easy, there’s no excuse for preventable mechanical problems during inspections. 

Setting the expectation in your fleet sets the culture for how people behave, what they do, and the outcomes you want for your drivers and your business. With the right tools, it’s easier than ever to get your fleet on track and improve your SAFER scores. When you do, business will boom. Gorilla Safety offers a fleet management system that grows with you and puts information at your fingertips. Contact us today to find out how we can help you change the culture in your fleet.