J.J. Keller’s List of Unsafe Driving Violations
Let’s talk about safety. J. J. Keller notes the Top 10 CSA unsafe driving violations. The FMCSA is an organization of authority in the industry. Paying attention to these scores is essential to operations.
No. 1: Speeding
Speeding violations range in severity from 1-10 dependent on speed and location. Speeding 1 encompasses speeding 1-5 mph above posted speed limit. Levels 2 and 3 are reserved for speeds 6-10 mph and 11-14 mph, respectively. Level 10 severity speeding violations include speeds 15 mph in excess of posted speed limit, and any speeding in construction zones. All of these speeding violations will affect your driver’s CSA score. Keep an eye out for excessive speed behaviors to protect your business!
No. 2: Failing to use a seat belt
This violation is an automatic level 7 for severity. Such a simple, life saving device, yet 2009 racked up over 70,000 of these violations. Failure to wear a seat belt not only affects your driver CSA score, but risks lives in the process.
No. 3: Failing to obey a traffic control device
We’re looking at a level 5 offense here. Failure to obey a traffic control device is a general category encompassing running stop signs, red lights, passing in a no-passing zone, and all other ignorance to road signage.
How can you avoid these violations? Simple. Make sure your drivers know the rules of the road and maintain awareness. This means limiting fatigued drivers, in addition to continuing education courses.
No. 4: Following too close
Categorized within “dangerous driving” this level 5 offense can be a deadly offense, and the CSA looks at it that way too. According to the FMCSA, “If you are driving below 40 mph, you should leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length… For speeds over 40 mph, you should leave one additional second”.
No. 5: Improper lane change
This is an automatic level 5 offense. An improper lane change is when a person changes or attempts to change lanes without an open and clear path. Essentially, it’s cutting someone off.
It’s very difficult to receive a citation for this because it requires one of two things. Either an officer has to witness to the improper lane change, or an accident resulting from the lane change with witnesses. Even with this being the case, there were still over 11,000 citations in 2009.
No. 6: Using/equipping a CMV with a radar detector
This level 5 offense is considered highly illegal. This is primarily because it endangers other drivers on the road. Not only is speeding dangerous overall, but speeding in a CMV can be especially dangerous because of the size of the vehicle, or the cargo. In particular, semi-truck tires are not rated for speeds above 75 mph, which means speed can lead to a dangerous blowout.
Using radar detectors is a practice that enables speeding in locations not currently under monitor.
No. 7: Failure to yield right of way
Failure to yield the right of way is a level 5 offense. It is considering a dangerous driving offense, and also negatively affects your driver’s CSA score. This includes intersections, multi-way stops, pedestrians, and other traffic signage. Violations can be a result of ignorance or confusion, but either way you can control violations to the law through driver education and coaching.
Unnecessarily yielding right of way can be just as dangerous, because it is often the cause of confusion.
No. 8: Improper turns
Improper turns are categorized under level 5 severity. This violation includes failing to make a complete stop before a right on red, improper distance from roadside when performing a turn, not utilizing turn signals, and improperly executed u-turns. Behaviors resulting in an improper turn violation also result in an impact on driver CSA score.
No. 9: Improper passing
Improper passing can be very unsafe. It includes endangering other vehicles while passing, blind passing at the tops of hills or around curves, and passing on the right. These behaviors result in high-speed, deadly accidents. As such, the severity level is 5, and it will absolutely impact driver CSA score.
This violation can also be issued when passing in a passing lane, or illegally crossing designated lane boundaries to pass another vehicle. In the case of most CMVs, size generally prohibits these behaviors.
No. 10: Reckless driving
Reckless driving is a major moving traffic violation. It ranks a level 10 on the severity index, and can result in the revocation of a license or jail time. It includes driving 25 mph over the speed limit, street racing, eluding a police officer, and even passing when visibility is limited.
Clearly, this would impact CSA score, but beyond that, it can severely damage your company’s reputation. When a potential customer sees your company vehicle weaving between lanes of traffic, they lose trust in your professional image.
Avoiding unsafe driving violations
The easiest way to avoid unsafe driving violations is to educate your drivers. Knowing the rules of the road can really make an impact on your driver CSA score. Abiding by the rules will eliminate the likelihood of receiving any violations at all.
Other ways to avoid violations:
- Stay alert
- Wear your seat belt
- Drive defensively
- Participate in NSC training
- Utilize driver coaching plug-ins
Read more about plug-ins and driver coaching here.