CSA, SMS, BASIC - What do all these acronyms mean?
CSA stands for "Compliance - Safety - Accountability." It's a regulatory initiative by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that is designed to reduce the occurrence of highway crashes involving large commercial vehicles.
(For more information visit SMS Online or CSA website)
SMS is the Safety Measurement System, the CSA program's tool for tracking and measuring the performance of drivers, carriers, and commercial motor vehicle traffic as a whole. SMS combines data from roadside inspections, safety violations, State-reported crashes, and the Federal motor carrier census to flag safety-related concerns with a particular carrier or driver, and identify the specific safety problem that needs to be addressed.
SMS data is broken down into seven separate Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The individual categories are:
  • Unsafe Driving
  • Fatigued Driving
  • Driver Fitness
  • Controlled Substances/Alcohol
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Cargo & Loading
  • Crash Indication
How can fleets and drivers prevent lighting-related maintenance issues?
A conscientious inspection program can prevent an out-of-compliance condition before it occurs. Maintenance personnel should go beyond just verifying that lights are illuminated. They should regularly look for:
  • Lamp lenses and housings that are cracked or fatigued
  • Harness or pigtail conductors that are brittle, chaffed, stripped or badly kinked
  • Corroded terminals and plugs
  • The failure of individual diodes within in an LED lamp assembly, which could be an early indication of moisture or corrosion intrusion.
    In addition, always follow these good maintenance practices:
  • Periodically use dielectric grease to protect bare metal terminals (if they are not otherwise sealed from water and corrosive chemicals).
  • Periodically use an amp meter to evaluate the general condition of the harness wiring
  • NEVER use a test probe by puncturing the insulating jacket of wires.
  • When repairs do have to be made, splice wires together using glue-filled, heat shrink crimp connectors to effect a completely sealed connection.

One of the most important ways to decrease maintenance issues is to use the best lighting and harness components available. PETERSON offers superior quality LED lamps that feature the longest-lasting circuitry and the most robust silicone-sealed connectors. Our complete DEFENDER harness and lighting system is your best choice for preventing lighting-related problems.
How does vehicle safety lighting come into play?

The SMS's Vehicle Maintenance BASIC assesses how each vehicle's functional condition affects road safety.Complete, properly configured, fully functional safety lighting a critical element of highway safety. Furthermore, improperly functioning vehicle safety lights and headlights are easily discerned from a distance and while the vehicle is underway, making them an easy indication of non-compliance to enforcement personnel. Each inoperative, intermittent, missing or defective lighting and conspicuity components can then result in a 2 to 6 point SMS penalty for each individual failue.
What should vehicle operators have on hand?

A compact, self-contained "CSA kit" of spare lighting supplies is a wise investment for every commercial vehicle. This kit should include one of each standard style of light on the vehicle, along with the tools needed to replace lights properly and repair damaged wiring. Contact Peterson or your Peterson Sales Rep to have a custom-designed CSA kit assembled to match for each vehicle in your fleet.