What is the CSA?

HomeGlossary of fleet termsWhat is the CSA?

CSA stands for Compliance, Safety, Accountability. It is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative that grades trucking companies based on safety performance and crash reports. There are three parts to the CSA program:

1. Safety Measurement System (SMS)
At the core of the CSA program is the Safety Measurement System that analyzes safety data and organizes them into seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). To simplify the interpretation of this safety event data, the SMS also groups carriers based on these BASICs and gives each fleet a percentile ranking of 0-100.

2. Interventions
Motor carriers that have poor safety performance and compliance records, and rank above intervention thresholds receive intervention warning letters or are targeted with roadside inspections, follow up investigations and follow up measures to help improve a carrier’s safety record.

3. Safety Fitness Determination (SFD)
When an onsite investigation (as part of an intervention) has been completed, a Safety Fitness Determination is issued for a carrier that is either satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory. This reflects the carrier’s safety at a given time and is not constantly updated like SMS rankings.

What are the BASICs?

  • Unsafe driving — speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, distracted driving, seat belt misuse
  • Crash indicator — a history of vehicle accidents and crashes
  • Hours-of-Service compliance — failure to obey HOS regulations, including the maintenance of records of duty status or ELDs
  • Vehicle maintenance — examples of violations include mechanical defects or improper loading
  • Illegal drugs/alcohol — recorded in PSP reports against CDL holders
  • Hazardous materials compliance — safe handling and proper documentation of hazmat shipments
  • Driver fitness — covers training, medical issues, licensing and certifications

What is a CSA score?

A CSA score is a calculation of violations that is weighted depending on its BASIC category and how recently a violation occurred. The lower the CSA score is, the safer a fleet is. A higher CSA score can influence the frequency of roadside inspections, the number of DOT audits and even insurance premiums for high-risk motor carriers.

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