What is CSA Score and how to improve it?

June 01 2021

Maintaining a good CSA score is crucial to your trucking business. These metrics have an impact not only on your fleet but also on your entire company. Keeping the scores as low as possible indicate high safety standards and makes your company more attractive to prospective clients and employees. High score- bad score! The good news is there is a way to improve and maintain a good CSA score. Here is how: 

What is the CSA Program

FMCSA  has launched CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) score program in December 2010. It is used to ensure reliability and safety on the roads. The CSA score is based on roadside inspections and crash reports from the preceding two years. The safety data is held online in the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) and is updated monthly with new data from roadside inspections.

What Goes into CSA Score categories 

  • Unsafe Driving– such as texting speeding, or reckless driving
  • Crash Indicator (Not Public)– Crash involvement based on state-reported crashes in the previous 24 months.
  • Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance– 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/Alcohol – Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including over the counter or prescription medication misuse or overdose.
  • Hazardous Materials Compliance (Not Public) – requires special attention for HazMats such as proper packaging, leaking containers, etc.
  • Driver Fitness– Issues such as the lack of a commercial driver’s license, suspended license, medical conditions, or inexperience.

How to Check Your CSA Score

FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System helps you to see the score of any driver or a company with a DOT number. This free database gives you access to a company’s track record for the previous 24 months. Violations in the past 24 months are considered.

How to improve your CSA Scores

Luckily you can improve your score if it’s higher than you would like. A lower score means fewer violations, safer drivers, and a better company reputation overall. Reducing a CSA score takes time, but the more inspections a driver has that are violation-free, the better (lower) the score becomes. Here are 3 essential tips that can help you with your score: 

  1. Hire reliable drivers– It is crucial to hire drivers with a good safety score because it reflects your overall safety as a company. The best way to ensure strong safety records is by checking prospective drivers’ Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) reports. PSP reports, are available through the FMCSA. It shows each driver’s five-year crash and three-year inspection history.
  2. Attention to Maintenance – think of it as one step ahead. Wouldn’t it be good if you identify and repair vehicle problems before they get written up during an inspection?  Implement a preventative maintenance program and make sure drivers are completing pre-and post-trip inspections. It may seem obvious, but you should always be sure to give your vehicles a look-over before and after they hit the road.

Drivers should:

Understand how to properly inspect their vehicle (2- 4 points).

Be familiar with CSA inspection data.

Submit DVIRs before and after every trip (required by FMCSA) to ensure there are no issues with their vehicle.

Make it a habit to regularly check lights, flashers, and reflectors.

Keep equipment clean to decrease chances of inspection.

3. Challenge Citations – After two years of the violation, it can be completely removed from a motor carrier record. Within two years, owner-operators can challenge a CSA violation to remove points or reduce the severity of the citation. All the citations can be found in FMCSA’s DataQ System. 

If you are still not sure whether you can do it yourself or you think it’s too overwhelming, you can consult with a safety compliance company. Check out Safety Compliance Solutions ( consulting company). Matrix, Inc is one of the companies with an outstanding safety score and we know a lot about it. That’s why we are sure you will be in good hands when it comes to CSA Scores. Reach out to Safety Compliance Solutions and find the missing piece in your puzzle. 

Email: safety@easycompliancesolutions.com

Phone : +1 773-820-9200