What Are CSA Scores?

CSA Scores In Trucking

We get a lot of questions here at Truckers Logic and one of the most common, What are CSA scores? Thought we’d offer a guide for those of you searching for your CSA score as we’ve seen a lot of different changes since December 2015.

CSA stands for Compliance, Safety, Accountability, and is an FMCSA initiative that was introduced to improve the overall safety of commercial motor vehicles. The CSA program was first introduced in December 2010.  The CSA program is based on carrier performance and calculated with a number of different data points.

How Are CSA Scores Calculated?

There’s a number of different that CSA scores are calculated. Your company’s safety data is collected from accident reports, investigation results, roadside inspections and registration information provided. This data can be found on the FMCSA’s Safety Management System website, which is regularly updated with accurate data. FMCSA refers to their Safety Management System as SMS.

According to FMCSA, their SMS takes into consideration the amount, severity and date of any violations, inspections or crashes a carrier has been involved in. If you have recent violations, these will hold higher scores compared to violations that are older.

For example, if you have a failed inspection a month ago, this would have higher scores compared to a wreck listed 2 years ago. It’s a “what have you done for me lately type of scoring system.”

Crashes and accidents are scored differently than other violations. As another example, a crash that resulted in a fatality or heavy property damage would be more severe compared to a crash that only required a tow.

Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories

The SMS has 7 different sections that data is broken down into. These categories are called Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) and they cover:

  • Unsafe Driving – Dangerous or careless operation of a vehicle including unsafe driving practices like speeding, improper land changes or failure to wear a seat belt.
  • Crash Indicator – History of crash involvement based on state-reported crashes. (not publicly available)
  • Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance – Incidents of vehicle operation by drivers who are ill, fatigued or in noncompliance with HOS regulations including driver log violations.
  • Vehicle Maintenance – Mechanical defects and failure to make required repairs as well as improper load securing.
  • Controlled Substance/Alcohol – Impaired driving through the use of alcohol, illegal drugs and misuse over the counter and prescription drugs.
  • Hazardous Materials Compliance – Unsafe or incorrect handling of hazardous materials including leaking containers, improper placarding and missing shipping papers. (not publicly available)
  • Driver Fitness – Vehicles operated by drivers who are unfit due to lack of training, experience or medical conditions.

With this data categorized, the SMS will group carriers, with the same range of safety requirements, together by each BASIC. All carriers will be ranked and assigned a score from 0 through 100. If carriers have a high score, interventions will be planned for those with bad scores. Carriers will have opportunities to improve their scores by passing new inspections violation free.

CSA scores are also made publicly available, however, the public do not have access to the Crash Indicator or Hazardous Materials Compliance BASICs. We discuss this in detail below.

FAST Act Of 2015

Pursuant to the FAST Act of 2015, certain information previously available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) Website related to property carrier’s compliance and safety performance is no longer available for public display.

Property carrier data available to the public includes inspection and crash data, investigation results, and measures for all public Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), however, the Crash Indicator and Hazardous Materials Compliance BASICs remain hidden from public view. Measures are generated directly from safety data and not based on relative comparison to other motor carriers.

All information on passenger carriers remains available to the public.

If you are a property carrier, or a passenger carrier wishing to view the non-public BASICS, you must log in to view your own complete SMS results.

Complete SMS results are available to enforcement users and motor carriers that are logged into the SMS. Logged-in enforcement users can view all carrier safety data, while logged-in motor carriers can only view their own data.

If you are a motor carrier and do not have login credentials, please click here for more information on how to obtain your PIN.

Changes To DAT’s Carrier Monitoring Service

Since DAT is one of our partners, we wanted to make sure we updated you on their service.

Because DAT Solutions will no longer receive CSA data from FMCSA, in the coming days we will be removing CSA scores from DAT CarrierWatch®, our subscription-based carrier monitoring service. CSA scores will also be removed from the DAT Directory, which lists information on all DAT customers. The DAT Directory is included at no charge with DAT load boards.

We will be monitoring FMCSA’s moves with regards to CSA. If the agency chooses to release portions of CSA data to the public in the future—which the law allows—we will work with them to identify a source for that data and we’ll consider publishing it as well.

If you have any questions, or if you have any special needs related to carrier monitoring data, please call us at 800-547-5417 or email Customer Support.

Still have questions? Access FMCSA’s CSA help center right here.

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Richard Hale is a published author that covers topics on the trucking industry and transportation department.