What Are CSA Scores, And Why Are They Important?
CSA is the program from FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) that focuses on safety compliance and enforcement. CSA creates safety accountability for vehicle carriers and operators by identifying safety issues and drawing attention to them to create change via warning letters and investigations. CSA safety performance and compliance records impact professional drivers strongly, as their safety records are reflected in their carrier’s safety record.
How CSA Scores Work
Collected safety data is shared online in FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS), which is updated once a month. The data is comprised of the results of roadside inspections (both driver and vehicle violations); two years’ worth of crash reports; and investigation results. Here are a few ways to keep your safety record squeaky clean:
- Safe driving: Texting, speeding, and reckless driving will result in prioritized interventions. Avoiding dangerous behaviors behind the wheel will have a significant positive impact on your record.
- Crash indicator: Patterns of high crash involvement (as well as the contributing behaviors) will place highly on your CSA score. Be cautious and deliberate to avoid collisions!
- Vehicle maintenance: Pre- and post-trip inspections, vehicle defects and repairs will add up to a lot on your record. Proper vehicle maintenance will ensure safety on the road!
- Hours-of-service compliance: Stay awake, alert and able to respond quickly. Safety regulations are in place to ensure drivers don’t operate a vehicle for too many hours consecutively – these laws are your friend!
- Hazardous material compliance: Give special attention to the proper packaging of volatile loads, including understanding regulations for tank spec testing.
What Can The CSA Score Impact?
A CSA score is not an obscure record – it has significant real-world influence! A high CSA score may make or break relationships between employers and potential drivers, or shipping companies and their partnerships with trucking companies. A CSA score may also affect expenses – and therefore hireability – as it is a determining factor in insurance premiums. Drivers with high CSA scores are also more prone to compliance checks, which makes it more difficult to meet deadlines.