What is a CSA score?

CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) is a road-safety program by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) used to improve industry safety protocols and reduce traffic related accidents. The Safety Measurement System (SMS) is the operating methodology used to calculate a carrier’s CSA score.

What factors does the FMCSA consider in its evaluation of a fleet?
The FMCSA determines a carrier’s CSA score based on evaluation of seven categories referred to as the BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories):

1. Unsafe Driving
Dangerous or careless driving

2. Driver Fitness

Driver operating skills and medical conditions

3. Controlled Substances/Alcohol

Driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription drugs

4. Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance

Unsafe handling of hazardous materials

5. Crash Indicator

History or patterns of high crash involvement

6. Vehicle Maintenance
Improperly maintained vehicles and/or other mechanical defects. Examples: Brakes, lights, improper load securement, etc.

7. Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance
Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or non-compliant with HOS regulations

Five Ways to Improve Your Score

1. Driver Training:

Since most violations are caused by driver negligence, it is important to improve training for drivers. By investing in driver training and replacing paper-log with e-logs, carriers can improve their CSA scores by decreasing the number of incurred violations.

2. Regular Vehicle Maintenance:

A vehicle needs to be regularly maintained for smooth and safe operation, which is why the FMCSA asks that drivers fill out DVIRs. A poorly maintained vehicle can lead to engine malfunctions and accidents that will greatly impact your CSA score.

3. Internal Auditing:

Strict compliance with the laws regarding handling, off-loading and maintenance of CMVs can be achieved through a rigorous system of internal audits. Regular inspection of vehicles and getting all of your drivers to transition to e-logs can keep your fleet out of trouble!

4. Performance Appraisal:
Recognizing driver performance is important for fleet management and provides incentives for other drivers to improve. Studies have shown that individual driver recognition and positive feedback helps to improve performance standards, leading to a more productive and safe workforce.

5. ELD Implementation:

Application of the above solutions requires a fair amount of time to see gradual improvements.  However, there is also a quick fix to minimize BASIC violations –transitioning to ELDs. According to the ELD Mandate, all drivers who currently keep a record of duty status will be required to implement an ELD solution by February of 2018. Get ahead of the game by switching from paper-logs to electronic logs now and investing in an ELD so you can start reaping the benefits of an improved CSA score.

By following these five simple tips, owners and operators can easily improve their CSA scores! So take action now and start integrating these recommendations to improve your fleet management.