Proper vehicle maintenance is always factored into the safety equation by progressive fleets. But the twin forces of increasing safety regulation and a burgeoning driver shortage are compelling the modern maintenance manager to do nothing less than think, live, and breathe truck safety.

Just the need to rack up a positive score under the federal Carrier, Safety, Accountability safety-monitoring program is impacting how maintenance is managed. CSA measures safety performance by violations. Whether those are compiled by roadside inspections or crash data, the resulting scores are attached to motor carriers and their drivers alike.

“I thought [early on] that CSA was only going to make everybody better at safety,” says Terry Clouser, vice president of fleet service for Fleet Advantage. The longtime fleet maintenance exec now works for the Florida-based firm that provides equipment financing and cost management to large private fleets. “By having someone else — ‘big brother’ — watching over it, everybody’s got to be more compliant and watch their CSA scores. Vehicle maintenance has a direct impact on your overall score and it’s one of the easy ones to regulate.”

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