What is CSA?

CSA is an acronym for Compliance, Safety, Accountability. This is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative that was created to improve the overall safety of commercial motor vehicles. This program is designed to prevent commercial motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

  • Do Drivers Have CSA Scores?
    • No, drivers do not have their own CSA scores. CSA Safety Measurement Scores are assigned to the motor carrier’s DOT number, if a driver receives a violation it will go on the motor carrier’s record. However, drivers have pre-employment screening program (PSP) records with FMCSA. A driver’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record shows a driver’s five-year crash and three-year roadside inspection history. These records are available to companies completing pre-employment screening for commercial driver roles.
  • How are CSA Scores Calculated?
    • CSA Scores for trucking companies are calculated with seven different Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). These categories are:
      • Unsafe Driving – Dangerous or careless driving practices like texting, speeding, improper lane changes, and failure to wear a seat belt.
      • Crash Indicator – State-reported crashes from the last two years are collected to help identify patterns of high crash involvement and the behaviors or set of behaviors that contributed to the crash.
      • Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance – Non-Compliance with Hours of Service Regulations, including not maintaining records of duty status.
      • Vehicle Maintenance – Mechanical defects and failure to make repairs.
      • Controlled Substance/Alcohol – Impaired driving of any kind: alcohol, illegal drugs, misuse over the counter and prescription drugs, etc.
      • Hazardous Materials Compliance – Unsafe or incorrect handling of hazardous materials including leaking containers, improper placarding, packaging, and missing shipping papers.
      • Driver Fitness – If the driver has an invalid license, or is medically unfit to operate a CMV carriers are responsible for ensuring driver qualification files are complete and current.

The CSA score takes into consideration the amount, severity, and date of any violations, inspections or crashes a carrier has been involved in. There is more weight given to violations that are more recent, and after two years violations are removed from the record.

With this data categorized, the system will rank all carriers and assign them a percentile from 0 – 100. Carriers are then prioritized for interventions based on how they performed, with the highest percentiles being the worse scores. All data is then made available on the FMCSA’s Safety Management System website, which is updated monthly.

  • What Is a Good CSA Score?
    • CSA scores are calculated on a 0 – 100 percentile scale, with 100 being the worst and 0 being the best. Carriers with scores greater than 65% in Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, and HOS Compliance are subject to FMCSA investigations. For hazardous materials and passenger carriers, the threshold is lower, at 60% and 50%, respectively. The remaining BASIC categories have an 80% threshold for most carriers, after which the FMCSA will intervene.
  • Why does a CSA Score matter?
    • Carriers with good CSA scores will benefit from lower insurance premiums, fewer DOT audits and roadside inspections, and a better reputation with current and potential customers. CSA scores are a matter of public record, so you can assume that clients are checking your CSA score. Your score is often a determining factor between you and a competitor, but your regular clients will check too.
  • How Can I Check My CSA Score?
    • You can check your score at the USDOT website: csa.fmcsa.dot.gov. When you enter your USDOT number and PIN into the SMS login page, you will be able to locate your score. If you don’t have a PIN, you can request one from USDOT. Delivery of your PIN typically takes 4-7 days.
  • How Do I Improve My CSA Score?
    • CSA scores can be improved over time by making safety a primary focus. It’s important to understand the BASICs and what factors, such as traffic violations and crashes, influence the score. Here’s a few tips to help keep your CSA Score low:
      • Careful Hiring – CSA scores are calculated using all your drivers’ roadside inspection and crash reports, so it’s critical to hire drivers with a good safety record.
      • Training Programs – CSA scores are essentially a measure of your overall safety as a company. To improve your CSA score, you should invest in a safety program with ongoing training and check-ins.
      • Attention to Maintenance – All violations are assigned a severity weight that reflects the crash risk for each BASIC category. To keep your fleet running smoothly and your CSA score low, implement a preventative maintenance program and make sure drivers are completing pre and post-trip inspections.
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