When the FMCSA introduced the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program in 2010, the goal was to ensure drivers were aware of and responsible for their role in safety on the road. CSA scores are calculated and weighted based on data collected from roadside inspections, crash reports, investigation results, and registration details.

While having a good CSA score should be a goal for any fleet, it’s crucial to understand that these scores and audits are not just a regulatory hoop to jump through. CSA scores are meant to protect drivers, passengers and the public — the goal is to create a culture of safety for fleets.

How CSA Scores Work

CSA scores are calculated based on seven categories, the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).

  • Unsafe Driving: Speeding, failure to wear a seat belt, tailgating, improper lane changes or texting while driving.
  • Driver Fitness: Issues such as the lack of a commercial driver’s license, suspended license, medical conditions, or inexperience.
  • Hours-of-Service Compliance: Potential hours-of-service violations such as exceeding hourly limits, driving while ill or fatigued or falsifying logs.
  • Vehicle Maintenance: Mechanical defects, defective vehicle brakes or lights, improper cargo securement, tire depth, and other vehicle-related issues.
  • Controlled Substances: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including over the counter or prescription medication misuse or overdose.
  • Crash indicator: Crash involvement based on state-reported crashes in the previous 24 months.
  • Hazardous materials compliance: Unsafe or improper handling, including leaking containers, improper placarding or missing shipping papers.

The BASICs categories are weighted based on time and severity, with more severe or more recent incidents bearing more weight. The weights are measured on a one-through-ten scale. The weights are then combined, and the severity multiplied by time for the violation score.

After violations and crashes are calculated and weighted, a “measure” of performance in each category is then calculated. This is done to adjust for carrier size and exposure. A Utilization Factor may also be applied if a carrier generates more exposure than average, such as by operating more miles per truck than average.

Carriers are then placed into safety event groups to ensure that carriers are treated fairly regardless of size. Once carriers are grouped, the system assigns a score. The score is the carrier’s percentile rank of its safety performance in each BASIC, although there has been recent discussion of changing the considerations around a CSA score.  The FMCSA is working on developing an Item Response Theory model to supplement or even replace the CSA scores. 

How to Improve Your CSA Scores

Hopefully, your CSA score is not high enough to require any intervention, but maybe it’s higher than you would like. Over time, your CSA score can improve without further driving incidents or crashes. For carriers, any violation or crash that occurred within the previous 24 months is considered. For drivers, any violation that occurred within the last 36 months can impact your score.

Additionally, carriers can work to improve their scores by addressing their fleet safety and making it a priority for the company. Here are some ways to improve your CSA score:

  • Change your fleet safety culture. When you communicate safety in everything you do, your employees will realize that it’s a priority.
  • Educate your employees on CSA scores and what they mean. Explain your expectations of them and warn them about the severity of violations.
  • Understand your top violations and create policies to avoid mechanical violations or hazardous waste non-compliance. Consider implementing mandatory pre-trip inspections to prevent future violations.

How SuperVision Can Help

Implementing a fleet monitoring solution can provide critical insights to manage and improve driver performance and your CSA scores. On average, fleets using SuperVision’s License Monitor have seen a 30% reduction in Driver Fitness and Crash Indicator scores in the first year.

Timely information and insight into your drivers’ performance can help you make every element of your business as productive as possible. SuperVision’s Driver Performer can help address the human component with a user-friendly scorecard that shows you where the fleet is operating well and identifies areas of improvement.

To proactively manage your CSA score, CSA Performer offers a measurement, intervention and evaluation tool. This allows you to systematically identify why safety problems are occurring and quickly provide coaching, recommend remedies and encourage corrective action. 

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

When you make safety a priority as part of your company culture, your employees will too.

Rather than waiting for your next CSA assessment, monitor your safety and driver performance to improve your CSA score in real-time with SuperVision’s suite of safety and compliance products.

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