In addition to requiring roadside inspections of all commercial vehicles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program. This program oversees driver and motor carrier intervention and investigation. The primary purpose of CSA is to research the reasons for safety violations, recommend solutions to improve driver behavior and eliminate violations, and encourage specific corrective actions.
If a driver with a poor inspection report fails to comply with the recommendations for improvement, the CSA will step in and impose strong penalties for non-compliance. The CSA monitors and enforces three levels of intervention known as early contact, investigation, and follow-on. We’ll focus on the investigation efforts the FMCSA can take and explain the different types of investigation they might conduct.
What are the 3 types of FMCSA investigation?
During the investigation stage, the inspector will complete one of three investigation types at a remote location or the business location of the motor carrier – an offsite investigation, an onsite comprehensive investigation, or an onsite focused investigation. (Each of these three types of investigation is a bit different.) Using the FMCSA Safety Management Cycle, which is a tool that motor carriers can use to understand and manage safety compliance issues, they will diagnose compliance and safety issues and recommend actions to impose against the motor carrier.
Here’s what each of these investigations involves.
Offsite Investigation: After receiving requested documents from the motor carrier, the safety inspector uses the paperwork to identify compliance and performance issues.
Onsite Comprehensive Investigation: The safety inspector assigned to the case reviews the entire operation of the motor carrier. This may involve the inspection of several vehicles as well as employee interviews.
Onsite Focused Investigation: The safety investigator may also inspect several vehicles and conduct employee interviews, but will focus on a specific problem rather than reviewing the entire safety program of a motor carrier. (They’re looking into a particular issue.)
Other FMCSA intervention.
The FMCSA also may do early contact intervention. Anyone with known compliance or safety issues will receive a warning letter from the FMCSA informing them of the specific issues and what will happen if their safety performace doesn’t improve. (This could include submitting to additional investigations on-site or off-site, and even targeted inspections.)
There is also a follow-on stage, which can include a cooperative safety plan, a notice of violation, a notice of claim, or an operation out of service order (which is very serious).
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Raising your CSA score and making a commitment to safe driving behavior can have massive benefits for your trucking company. Each commercial vehicle company faces tons of unique risks – no two businesses are exactly the same, after all. Therefore, each trucking company needs unique insurance coverage that can help them handle these risks.
To start getting free, customized quotes on affordable insurance for your trucking business, call our experts today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today. Our team of transportation insurance experts is ready to help you with getting the coverage you need.