CSA Scores in Trucking

In the trucking world, safety and compliance are the most important. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2010 passed the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program (CSA). This program was designed to hold carriers, owner-operators, and drivers responsible for keeping the nation’s roads safe. CSA scores are important for measuring performance and loyalty to the trucking regulations.

Understanding CSA Scores

The CSA scores are a safety measure that is used to assess carriers and owner-operators on their compliance with safety performance and regulations. The main objective of these scores is to find high-risk carriers and drivers and focus on safety interventions to help lower injuries, accidents, and fatalities. Regarding a CSA violation, these are broken down into the 7 basics.

  1. Crash Indicators
  2. Controlled Substance/Alcohol
  3. Driver Fitness
  4. Unsafe Driving
  5. Vehicle Maintenance
  6. Hours of Service Compliance
  7. Hazardous Materials Compliance

Calculating CSA Scores

CSA scores are obtained from different sources, including crash reports, inspections, safety audits, and roadside violations. The collected and recorded data is put into the Safety Measurement System (SMS) that the FMCSA maintains. If there is a violation during a vehicle inspection, citations are issued under the carrier or independent owner-operator’s DOT number. Citations are assigned a point value from 1 – 10 based on the severity of the violation. Once a citation has been issued, this will stay on the carrier or owner-operator’s record for two years.

How to Maintain a Good CSA Score

Avoiding a high CSA score is easy. There are some steps that owner-operators and carriers can do before hitting the road.

Pre-Trip Inspections 

Doing a good pre-trip inspection can help find and address any safety issues before driving; this can also help lower the risk of violations or accidents.

Follow Hours-of-Service Regulations 

Compliance with the HOS regulations is important in preventing accidents and violations caused by fatigue. Keeping a good record and using an electronic logging device (ELD) can help you comply with your allowed drive times.

Vehicle Maintenance 

Regular maintenance on your vehicle, including checking the tires, brakes, lights, and other components, can help in safe operations.

Driver Training and Education 

Enrolling in training and education programs for owner-operators on safe driving practices, regulatory compliance, and defensive driving techniques can help lower your CSA scores.

Correcting and Monitoring Faults 

Constantly monitoring CSA scores and fixing where there are faults quickly can help prevent violations from rising and negatively impacting your overall performance and CSA scores.

Even though drivers do not have CSA scores, there is a Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) that contains a driver’s five-year crash history and a three-year roadside inspection history. These reports should be considered because a driver with a below-average safety record can negatively impact a carrier or owner-operator’s CSA score.