Looking Both Ways
Warnings and Citations
Citations or Warnings
Differences in CSA
This post of Looking Both Ways will address differences in Citations and Warnings. It is important for you the driver to understand differences and effects that a â€œwarningâ€ has against a companyâ€™s CSA Basic scores and how a Citation affects the score. This same effect factor could affect your career. Sounds like cause and effect.
Speeding will almost always cause a Law Enforcement Officer to stop a vehicle and operator. If a commercial motor vehicle is involved, the officer will surely record the event on a roadside inspection form. Speeding violations account for almost half of all moving-type violations marked on inspection reports. Some states use speeding as a â€œtriggerâ€ to inspect a commercial motor vehicle. Indiana ranks first in the nation for those violations, which contribute to carriersâ€™ scores in the Unsafe Driving category of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability programâ€™s Safety Measurement System. Once stopped for speeding the result is one of three actions: 1). No Action â€“ nothing recorded and no action taken; 2). A warning â€“ speeding and written warning are issued and recorded on a roadside inspection form; or 3). Citation issued.
What Happens Next?
If no action was taken â€“ nothing recorded and no action taken - well just that! The speeding infraction â€œnever happenedâ€ and there is no evidence it ever occurred. Life goes on.
If a â€œwarningâ€ was issued, there is a paper trail of proof that an infraction occurred. The driver is typically issued a piece of paper called a â€œwarningâ€ instead of a â€œcitationâ€, and most often the warning is recorded on a roadside inspection form, along with any other violations discovered during the inspection. In this instance the CMV driver feels relieved because there will be no new moving violations added to his or her MVR (driving record) and no money taken from their wallets. Seems like a great deal, eh? That officer sure was kind to just issued me a warning, or wasnâ€™t he? The answer is NO. That officer did you and the carrier you drive for no favor at all in the eyes of CSA. That officer just acted as God, Judge and jury in the eyes of CSA and Data Qâ€™s â€“ you are GUILTY! Wait, how can this be? I only received a â€œWarningâ€. Please pay attention. In CSA, â€œwarningsâ€ are treated the same as citations as far as the â€œpointsâ€ or â€œweighted valueâ€ against the carrier you drive for. An example â€“ and this could be any type of moving violation - if you receive a 15 mph or greater speeding this is considered a â€œMajor CDL Violationâ€. It is a severe violation carrying a 10 point value in CSA scoring, Because you just received it is weighted three (3)times which equals 30 and will surely adversely affect your carrierâ€™s Unsafe Driving Basic in CSA regardless of the size of the carrier you drive for. Again, these â€œpointsâ€ are assessed regardless if it was a citation or warning. Chances are the safety manager from your company will be giving notification that your services are no longer needed by the carrier. You now have lost your job and income. You go on your way seeking employment or a contract with another motor carrier. The carrier that just released you is stuck living with the CSA points assessed from your warning for two years. That carrier also has NO way of appealing through the Data Qâ€™s system to have those points removed or reduced.
If a citation was issued, you have a right to contest the citation in a court of law and possibly get the violation dismissed (or reduced). The same opportunity is forfeited with a warning. No chance to go before a judge to plead your case. No chance for dismissal. Warning issued, warning stays. Remember â€“ warning carries same points as citation. Should you be issued a citation and be successful in court in having the citation dismissed or reduced, your carrier now has the opportunity to submit an appeal through the Data Qâ€™s system to have the â€œCSA pointsâ€ removed from their CSA Basic score. Think of the Data Qâ€™s system as your carrierâ€™s â€œday in courtâ€. There is a good chance if the citation was dismissed in court that the carrier can successfully have the CSA scoring changed through Data Qâ€™s. The carrierâ€™s success in Data Qâ€™s also affects your PSP report and the violation. Most carriers use PSP as a â€œpre-screening toolâ€ and see every violation listed on roadside inspections you have had at all carriers you have operated for. This speeding violation now haunts you as you seek new employment. You might get be able to retain or regain your position with your carrier if you were successful in court with a citation.
So, the next time a law enforcement official wants to do you a â€œfavorâ€ by issuing you a â€œwarningâ€, quickly consider all factors involved and severity of the violation. Your response may be to say â€œno thank you, Iâ€™ll have a citation pleaseâ€.
Disclaimer: This blog is NOT intended to give legal advice, nor be a substitute for any training required by the Regulations.
Till the next blog, Thank you drivers for all you do!. Please be safe!
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John Mueller, CDS, COSS