Fleet Management

Enforcement Hot Zones Affect National CSA Scores

October 07, 2014

By Jim Park

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Carriers that run into jurisdictions with various enforcement focuses can be hurt by elevated enforcement activity in those areas. Vigillo founder, CEO and blogger, Steve Bryan recently crunched some numbers from well-known enforcement hot spots along the Texas-Mexico border and found the average Vehicle Maintenance percentile score for carriers with inspection activity in that area are 19.3% higher than carriers without such exposure.

It's well known that various jurisdictions carry out enforcement agenda based on local concerns and demands, but it's impossible for a carrier to differentiate between what could be call normal enforcement exposure and the hyped-up activity found in some jurisdictions.

"The problem of course is that CSA has no way of compensating for these hot zones of enforcement, and as the data clearly show, these enforcement hot spots have a significant impact on carrier CSA Scores," Bryan notes in his Oct. 6, 2014 blog post.

Here's what he found: "The average Vehicle Maintenance percentile score of the U.S. domiciled carriers who have inspection activity on the Texas border averages 71.48% while the average score for U.S. carriers without inspection activity on the Texas border averages just 59.90%; an average of 19.3% lower."

The violation breakdown shows tires, brakes and lighting are the most frequently cited violations in the 13 Tex-Mex border counties he analyzed.

Enforcement statistics gathered by Bryan for the blog, titled "Highway Patrolman," show a highly disproportionate number of Vehicle Maintenance violations were written in the state of Texas over a two-year period from Oct.6, 2012 Oct. 6, 2014.

Bryan shows that more than 2.2 million vehicle maintenance violations were recorded in that period compared to 92,047 HOS violations, 17,853 unsafe driving violations and 876 driver fitness violations. Other violations are logged in similarly small numbers.

In the blog, Bryan notes that he's not making any judgment on Texas' enforcement priorities, but he stresses that carriers that have more exposure than others in such jurisdictions can be unfavorably tagged with an elevated Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.

Of course, the corollary to the high number of vehicle maintenance violations is that enforcement doesn't make up the violations. Presumably, the vehicle conditions exist, so the cops in Texas must simply be better than most at finding them.

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