Top Tips for Avoiding CSA Penalties

As any trucker will tell you, while at it’s heart, the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability initiative by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is designed to make the roads safer for commercial and public drivers through regular safety checks of vehicles.  When simple maintenance items fall out of operating specifications, a penalty is issued.  The good news is by adding some additional simple safety checks daily,  weekly or monthly checks, you can avoid potentially costly fees, and also decrease insurance premiums for a good safety record.

Common Vehicle Maintenance

Just like a pilot does a pre-flight check of flight systems, control surfaces, and safety systems, do the same for your truck.  This includes checking tires for adequate tread depth, tire pressure, and abnormal wear patterns.  Catching signs early promotes better fuel economy and longer tire life, leading to lower operating costs. Double win.

Easy to overlook, small marker lights on both truck and trailer can be cause for citation, so replacing bulbs promptly helps you both avoid a fine as well as keeps you aware when other potential electrical failures are present.  A more common electrical fault is a bad ground—be it to a marker light or to the trailer.  If you have inconsistent, flickering, or “dead” banks of lights, a bad ground connection should be the first checklist item.

Driver Safety And Health

The regulations don’t just pertain to the equipment, but to drivers as well.  This includes maintaining accurate and complete driving logs, observing equipment weight limits, and observance of speed limits.  If you employ other drivers in your firm, electronically limit or gear your trucks to fall within the speed limits of the roads in your service area.  The up-front cost can help avoid increased recurring costs (insurance premiums, for one) down the road.

Commercial vehicle operators are advised by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to receive a medical exam and certificate every 6 months.  This comprehensive exam and associated forms cover topics such as cardiovascular health, limb-impaired, diabetes, and visual impairments.


Keeping equipment on the road is a high priority for any transportation business, however skipping quick checks and maintenance can help mitigate risk of not only equipment failure but also fines and insurance premium increases.  Observing simple checks daily can help keep you out of CSA enforcers’ crosshairs and keep your equipment operating consistently.