Highway safety is important and with so many semi-trucks in operation, motor carriers play a significant role in keeping our nation’s roads safe. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates this industry. One of the ways they track metrics for trucking companies is with their Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program. Carriers are assigned a percentile rank based on performance and these ranks are known as CSA scores. Understanding what this number means and how you can improve it is important to keep your company safe and compliant.
What is a Good CSA Score?
CSA scores represent a percentage value from 0 to 100. Lower scores are best. The score includes different categories and each category has a different intervention threshold set by the FMCSA.
How Can I Check My CSA Score?
Motor carriers can check their CSA scores on the FMCSA website. You will need your United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number and PIN to log in. These scores are updated monthly so your company can monitor trends and take corrective action as needed. If your score rises above a certain point, the FMCSA may also send a warning letter.
Final CSA scores are not available to the public. However, percentiles for certain categories are available and anyone can look these up by company name or USDOT number.
What are the Seven CSA BASICs?
CSA scores are broken down into seven categories, which are called Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). Each BASIC has its own individual percentile rank and also contributes to the final score.
The seven BASICs are:
This BASIC score increases for violations related to careless or dangerous driving. This can include texting, speeding, improper lane change, driver inattention, and more.
A motor carrier’s Crash Indicator is one of the BASICs that is only visible when logged into the CSA website. This score is based on crash involvement and both severity and frequency are factors.
Commercial drivers must comply with hours of service (HOS) requirements. These are designed to reduce driver fatigue and lower the risk of crashes. HOS violations raise the CSA score for this BASIC.
Trucking companies need to properly maintain their commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to help prevent crashes. Any violations at roadside inspections can increase the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.
Operating a commercial vehicle while impaired is a serious safety violation and is against the law. If one of your drivers fails a roadside alcohol or drug test, it will affect this BASIC.
Hazardous Materials Compliance
There are many different regulations for transporting hazardous materials (hazmat). Violating any of these can result in an increase of the Hazardous Materials Compliance BASIC.
Motor carriers must ensure that their drivers are qualified to operate a CMV. If a driver doesn’t have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) or is medically unqualified, it will affect the company’s Driver Fitness score.
How Can You Improve Your CSA Score?
Your motor carrier should have proper safety protocols in place and follow these at all times to keep your CSA score low. If your CSA score is beginning to rise, you should consider which BASIC is affected. This will determine which actions you should take. Working with a safety consulting company can also be beneficial. HDS Safety Services can help you improve your fleet’s safety and can provide training, file management, drug testing, and more.