7 Valuable Tips for Better Carrier Compliance

Throughout the last few decades, carrier compliance has become a top priority. More products are being shipped than ever before, and the demand for carriers continues to rise. Shippers are known to work with multiple carriers and achieving high CSA scores can benefit you.


What is Carrier Compliance? 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wanted to find a way to hold carriers accountable across supply chains and find a way to enforce quality. Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) scores were developed as a key method of determining compliance. 

CSA scores are determined on a point scale from 0 to 100 and include what is known as the Seven Scores: 

  1. Driver fitness 
  2. Crash indicator 
  3. Unsafe driving 
  4. Controlled substance/alcohol 
  5. Vehicle maintenance 
  6. Hours of service compliance 
  7. Hazardous materials compliance 

The lower the score, the better it is. Maintaining low scores across the board is an excellent way to avoid being in FMCSA crosshairs. 

If you want to improve your carrier compliance and strive to achieve the best compliance scores possible, the following tips can help. 


carrier compliance tips delivery truck


7 Valuable Tips for Better Carrier Compliance 

  1. Master Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) for HOS Compliance

Hours of service compliance is one of the essential aspects of carrier compliance. FMCSA will hold this compliance against you, but there are ways to master these devices to always remaining compliant. 

A few ways to master electronic devices are: 

  • Train drivers on how to use ELDs 
  • Provide packets to drivers explaining how to use an ELD
  • Create instruction sheets on proper usage 

Drivers also have a responsibility to log off of the system when they're done for the day. Carrier compliance can be better enforced when knowing how to edit entries for higher accuracy levels. 

  1. Create a Maintenance Master Plan

Maintenance is vital to your fleet's safety and reliability, and it's also one of the seven elements of CSA scores. If you don't have a master plan for maintenance, there are a few key things that carriers can check daily to keep their maintenance score as low as possible: 

  • Tires 
  • Steering 
  • Hand brake 
  • Brakes 
  • Trailer brakes 
  • Windshield wipers 
  • Coupling devices 
  • Mirrors 

Drivers should be trained and encouraged to report maintenance issues immediately to keep trucks running smoothly. Routine maintenance and daily inspections can go a long way in ensuring that your maintenance scores remain low. 

  1. Work to Identify Non-Compliance Patterns

Since compliance is a top priority, it's often a good choice to analyze the data that you have available to find non-compliance patterns. Drivers often have patterns, which FMCSA's SMS can detect. 

Once you understand and account for these issues, it's time to provide safety and compliance training to drivers. 

You'll be able to account for the top issues plaguing your company, and you'll also be able to correct driver-specific issues. You can build a proactive approach out of these patterns that will strengthen you when shipping parcels. 

  1. Integrate a TMS Solution

Implementing a transportation management system (TMS) is one of the ways that logistic companies can make strategic changes and manage their goods. There are many reasons to integrate a TMS solution, including: 

  • Better logistics to improve efficiency and allow for rapid route adjustments 
  • Increasing your warehouse efficiency 
  • Improving the accuracy of your freight 

TMS solutions can improve the entire supply chain and increase your efficiency when it comes to carrier compliance. 

You'll be able to utilize the TMS system to track performance, consolidate invoices, and allow third-party companies to handle freight claims, auditing, and more. 

These advanced systems can also help with reporting, sending notifications to drivers, and integrating neatly into systems that you already use, such as supply chain management platforms. 

Sign up for a product demo of ShipERP's transportation management system and multi-carrier shipping software today to learn more about how a TMS can improve your business. 

  1. Implement Hazardous Material Protocols

Hazardous materials are one of the most concerning with carrier compliance because the materials are hazardous. Extreme fines and penalties exist if hazardous materials aren't handled with the highest degree of safety. 

Lapses in judgment or driver errors can lead to high scores in this area. You definitely want to ship HAZMAT with confidence!

A few of the critical issues in carrier compliance when dealing with hazardous materials are: 

  • Lack of proper packaging 
  • Lack of placards 
  • Improperly sealed or leaking containers 

One means of correcting these issues is to put strict protocols in place. The protocols should include a thorough inspection of these three components and a checklist that the driver must work through before going on the road. 

You can also implement a hazardous materials compliance software to your business. With a compliance software, you can better focus on your other responsibilities. Save time and money, all the while avoiding costly legal penalties!

Download the hazardous materials cheat sheet for logistics

  1. Analyze Safety Management

Safety should be a top priority for you, and it can help with everything from protecting against regulation issues to reducing accidents. Financially, the proper safety measures can also save you money and keep shipments moving smoothly. 

Avoiding regulatory issues is another bonus of safety management. 

Improving safety practices should start with thorough training and protocols. After the training is complete, it's time to do the following to improve safety management better: 

  • Communicate with employees 
  • Analyze and track team member behavior 
  • Create detailed job descriptions that include duties and responsibilities 
  • Provide thorough training and implement routine safety training 
  • Create clear policies that all employees must follow 

You'll also want to make sure that employees have and maintain the proper qualifications. 

  1. Remain Well-educated on Compliance, Safety, and Accountability

CSA is a significant concern for motor carriers, and remaining carrier compliant requires you to be familiar and up-to-date on compliance, safety, and accountability. It's essential to use the official website of the CSA ad FMCSA to keep on top of changes to CSA scores that you'll need to know. 

Reports, tools, and articles will also help you stay current on compliance. 

Most importantly, if changes are made, you should educate drivers on these issues and ensure that they have the proper training to keep CSA scores low. 

Carrier compliance should be a top priority. If you're having issues with compliance or want to find key ways to bring down scores, the tips above are a great starting point. Just remember to stay on top of any compliance changes imposed on you. 

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