By: Bruce Pelletier
Smokey Bears, Next 100,000 Miles.
The New Year is approaching, and what better time to review some safety tips and avoiding unnecessary “Trick Bags” set by local and federal law enforcement. Unlike our greedy freight broker and privileged dispatchers, sitting at home or working in a warm plush office. We as professional drivers live and sleep in our trucks. More importantly, we should have all vehicle registrations, licence plates and permits current and in compliance with The National Highway Safety Administration and Department of Transportation.
These Federal safety standards are regulations written in terms of minimum safety performance requirements for motor vehicles or items of motor vehicle equipment. But fuck all that jibber-jabber. Let’s focus on the CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) score and how those points could add up and put you in the unemployment line for the next 12 months. I take no pleasure in reporting that the CSA acronym was once called: Comprehension Safety Analysis and that these thieves in the White House have become so crazy with greed, and so hungry to control commerce that it reeks of corruption. Alright, time to move on before I spontaneously combust with rage.
Despite the fact that there are new accountabilities for our driving performance, you (the CDL Holder) can receive hefty fines and serious infractions on your CSA score. These points can range from broken indicator lights to HOS (Hours of Service). Think of the CSA like a game of Golf, each driver starts at zero and can play this system like Milton Bradley until they reach 100 points. Afterward, game over. You lose your CDL privileges and become uninsurable to over 250 motor carriers in the country.
On the surface, you and your truck might look road worthy and having a working flashlight, a small screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench could save you time and CSA points. During the Winter months, keep your air tanks free from moisture by draining them daily and replacing the air dryer once every two years.
General maintenance could prevent roadside breakdowns and could possibly be the difference between life & death. Make sure you have plenty of food, a warm blanket and proper clothing this season. It would not be fair to your family if you came home in a body bag because you thought it would be stylish to wearing cargo shots and flip flops in fucking February when your truck defuncts in Nebraska.
Whether these efforts can help rejuvenate your way of life on the Interstate, each professional driver strives to put safety first, and should utilize good driving habits, critical thinking and road etiquette. Until then, drive safe for the next million miles. Your life and the lives of others depend on it!